Children as young as seven are skipping school to join pro-Palestine marches, with various hard Left groups behind the protests. The Mail has more.
Hardline groups are advising parents on how to avoid fines from schools and on setting up protests, according to the Policy Exchange think-tank.
The wave of truancy comes amid a school absence crisis triggered by the pandemic.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said last night that it was unacceptable for pupils to put activism ahead of study.
The report claims some parents were allegedly told by teachers they would not be penalised over the protests.
The Policy Exchange also says that:
- The hard-Left Stop the War Coalition co-ordinated parents and children to strike together across the country
- Young activists were directed to material from Cage, a hardline group accused of sympathising with terrorists after calling Islamic State fanatic Jihadi John a “beautiful young man”
- Children as young as seven were seen chanting the slogan ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free’
- Activist teachers in Bristol have waived through the absences saying there would be “no risk of a fine”
Mrs. Keegan said: “Children should be in school. While I would always encourage young people to engage in world events, doing so by joining protests during school time is unacceptable.
“I am deeply concerned political groups are encouraging children to join protests at the cost of invaluable time in the classroom. Children should not be used as political tools by campaign groups, who in some cases hold extreme views.
“I strongly support schools and local authorities in setting clear expectations that pupils should be in school, and in taking action where that is not the case including using fines where applicable.”
Thousands of schoolchildren have attended marches in recent weeks. More than 400 attended a single protest in Tower Hamlets, East London, on November 16th, while 500 marched in Redbridge, North-East London, on November 17th.
Another 300 children at Beal High School in Ilford, East London, boycotted an assembly with local Labour MP and Health spokesman Wes Streeting over his stance on the war in Gaza.
The report by the Policy Exchange sparked outrage from MPs and experts who called for parents who allow their children to join protests to be fined.
Worth reading in full.
The Times has also reported on the involvement of Stop the War Coalition, a front for the Socialist Workers’ Party, in the schoolchildren’s protests.
Stop Press: Leading period product company Hey Girls has prompted outrage by telling schoolgirls that men can have periods.