MPs demand investigation into school after attack

Ashford: Police gives an update after racially-aggravated assault

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MPs are pushing for an investigation after a black pupil at a school in Surrey was hurt in a brutal attack which police have described as racially aggravated. A harrowing video circulating on social media showed the girl being punched and kicked, and having her hair pulled outside Thomas Knyvett College in Ashford.

The two-minute clip starts off as a fight between the girl and another white female. However, others quickly pile in, raining blows on her as she lies on the ground.

Large numbers of people are shown to be watching the violence.

Protesters subsequently staged a demonstration, claiming the school did not do enough to help the youngster.

British rapper Dave, who has 866,000 followers, drew attention to the shocking footage, tweeting that action should be taken against members of staff who did not intervene.

Janet Daby, Labour MP for Lewisham East, shared a copy of a letter sent to Home Secretary Suella Braverman calling on her to act.

Ms Daby wrote on Twitter: “I have led a cross-party group of MPs in writing to the Home Secretary following the assault of a young black girl in #Ashford.

“This is an incredibly serious incident. We must have assurances on the victim’s welfare, the police investigation, and safeguarding in schools.:

Speaking in Parliament, Ms Daby also called for the Department for Education “look into what practices are not and are taking place in that school regarding safeguarding, and also address the professional performance of the school teachers”.

In response, Penny Mordaunt, leader of the House of Commons, said: “It is being investigated, and of course, those investigations are separate from government. Quite rightly so. I will write… to raise her concerns, to the secretary of state.”

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Other MPs also tweeted their concerns, with Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP for Streatham, saying: “Pleased to sign @JanetDaby’s letter to the Home Secretary raising concerns over the assault of a young black girl in Ashford.”

Former Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, Tory MP for Spelthorne, said: “I’m shocked and saddened to hear about the recent assault on a teenage victim in Ashford. It is vital that children are safe at school and in their local community.

“I understand that Surrey Police have made several arrests and I encourage anyone with evidence to come forward.”

Surrey Police tweeted that a total of five people have so far been arrested for offences including attempted racially aggravated GBH, harassment, and child neglect after the incident, which occurred on Monday just after the end of the school day.

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It added: “Officers and staff working on this case have found the footage as distressing as the public have.

“I can assure you the speed and vigour with which we are working to build this investigation has not wavered. We will be issuing updates as and when we can.”

In a clip recorded yesterday, Chief Inspector Dallas McDermott appealed for members of the public not to share the clip as Surrey Police builds its case for the Crown Prosecution Service.

In a statement shared on Twitter, the school’s head teacher, Richard Beeson, said: “We can assure you that we are taking all necessary steps to ensure this isolated incident is dealt with and that student safety is our paramount concern.”

A statement issued via the school’s Twitter account today added: “We are taking this situation extremely seriously and are working with all agencies involved. We need to ask for calm and patience while vital work is undertaken to establish the facts.”

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