My name is Patricia Daley and I am a mother and an advocate. I started this petition because as a mother to my two Black daughters, I had to do something to prevent what happened to child Q from happening to any other child. A young Black girl (Child Q) was subjected to a ‘traumatic dehumanising’ strip search whilst menstruating with no appropriate adult present, after being wrongly accused of carrying cannabis at her London school. The influencing factor? Racist adultification and criminalisation of Black girls, making her and many other Black girls invisible victims of racist trauma. That’s why I’m calling for better safeguarding processes to end the adultification of Black girls and stop police from having a place in our schools. Adultification - a form of racial prejudice where children of Black background and other minorities, are treated as being more mature than they actually are by a reasonable social standard. Whilst many who read the details were horrified, for many Black girls and women this was a common experience in their childhood. Every system that a Black girl encounters in this country - public schools, health care, foster care - treats them more harshly than white children. The infantilising of white women and adultification of Black girls is a prevalent issue that begins as early as 3 years old. In schools deeply rooted in institutional racism, Black girls often are perceived as less innocent than white girls. Burdened by society’s expectations of who Black girls are supposed to be, whether that is ’loud’, ’sassy’, ’rude’, or ’difficult’ - Black girls are bourne of implicit biases from both their teachers and peers which places them at higher risk of missed abuse. These biases are seen as a dominant role in the increasing use of (sometimes violent) discipline against Black girls by police, and other authoritative figures. Racism and misogyny are well-established features of the Metropolitan Police, which have become all the more obvious in the past year. Black girls are much more vulnerable as they are often excluded from conversations of racism or sexism, which creates intersectional invisibility that marginalises them in movements supposed to protect them in their plights. The Metropolitan Police and schools are creating a climate of suspicion, causing harm to our young Black girls. As a mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and niece I am asking: what justification is there for a school failing to safeguard our Black girls? As a society, we need to do better at safeguarding children, especially young Black girls who are faced with systemic violence and are often overlooked. We need diverse teachers, student support staff, better parent-teacher communication, SEN training, youth workers, counsellors and mentors. Black girls need the same gentleness and kindness as everyone else - not violence and harm from the law. Safety in school is about support and development, not punishment. In order to urgently safeguard Black girls and prevent what happened to child Q from happening again, we need:
Schools to partner with the Black community about how to better safeguard young Black girls.
Training for schools to be better at inclusion.
A review of school and teacher services that aim to protect the safety and wellbeing of children, especially Black girls and marginalised children.
Please sign and share to protect the wellbeing and dignity of Black girls in our school and to stop police from having a place in our schools. #ProtectBlackGirls