Photo by: Peter Dazeley/Getty
A 15-year-old Black student in London said she has wanted to “scream, shout, cry, or simply give up” every day after she was recently strip-searched by police officers at her school .
The student, who goes by Child Q, was targeted at her Hackney, East London school based on unsubstantiated cannabis accusations. Racism was a potential element in her treatment, according to a council assessment.
“Someone walked into the school, where I was supposed to feel safe, took me away from the people who were supposed to protect me and stripped me naked, while on my period,” she said in a statement which was made through a family’s solicitor.
She was forced to take off her sanitary napkin and family members claim she was not permitted to clean herself in the toilet.
“I don’t know if I’m going to feel normal again,” she continued. “But I do know this can’t happen to anyone else, ever again.”
According to the family statement, searches of the child’s bag, jacket, scarf and shoes turned up nothing of interest before she was strip-searched without an adult present.
The 15-year-old’s mother made a statement on how her daughter was treated as a criminal on school grounds and how the incident has affected her mentally.
“Professionals treated her as an adult. She was searched as an adult. “Is it because of her skin? Her hair? Why her? My daughter is a changed person. We try to reassure her but looking to the future, we can’t say she will ever recover.”
The family’s solicitor, Chanel Dolcy stated that race was a factor of the strip search.
“It is unlikely that Child Q would have been treated in this humiliating and degrading way had she not been Black,” Dolcy said. “Child Q and her family are hopeful that the recommendations of the review panel will be carefully considered and implemented so that another child is not exposed to a similar traumatic experience.”
Outrage and bewilderment have erupted in response to the incident, with Labour frontbencher Jess Phillips comparing the treatment to child abuse.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the situation, and three officers were notified of for potential disciplinary offenses related to how the student was treated.
When will misogynoir end?