Staff and pupils at a troubled Sheffield school have been given a vote of confidence by the city’s largest teaching union – and by youngsters studying there.
Hinde House School at Shiregreen has been under pressure after two 14-year-old boys were injured after being attacked by two 15-year-olds.
The older students have since been arrested by police and have been bailed pending further inquiries.
The incident sparked the creation of an online petition, with more than 1,600 people demanding action from headteacher Chris French, who was due to meet the parents most closely involved last night.
But the Sheffield branch of the National Union of Teachers has attacked what it says are unsupported claims by parents that the school is marred by ‘intimidation, violence and gang-like culture’.
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Joint divisional secretary Toby Mallisons said the union gave staff and students unreserved support at ‘this difficult time’.
“We condemn the actions of a small number of students at the school and there can be no justification for a violent attack on any member of the school community,” he said.
“The claims about intimidation and violence are completely at odds with the day to day life at the school.
“We know Hinde House remains a good school and applaud the multicultural tradition that has existed at the school for many years,” Mr Mallinson added.
Meanwhile a Year 11 pupil also defended the school, saying ‘tons of lies’ were circulating in the area about problems with pupils from Roma-Slovak backgrounds.
The boy, who asked not to be named, told The Star: “What happened was socially incorrect and obviously very distressing for people that were victims of such an assault – but it’s now becoming a feeding ground for both racism and discrimination against a whole ethnic group.
“During the five years I have been at Hinde House I have not experienced one problem. And that is not excluding the Roma-Slovak kids. I feel both safe and comfortable and I have never seen ‘assaults’ and ‘attacks’ happening regularly.
“The truth is this – merely seconds after the fight began, teachers were already breaking it apart. A large number of staff participated in dealing with the situation and everything was under control.
“The problem seems to be the misapprehension that our school is ‘attempting to hide it’, when we all were told about what happened and how it was dealt with, through letters, assemblies and talks with staff.
“There were exclusions and people who were involved in the attack were dealt with. I am deeply saddened that a bunch of idiots now define the Roma-Slovak kids, because you cannot blame an entire race for something a few people do.”