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Pupils’ heartwarming display of support after headteacher hit with vile ‘homophobic’ abuse

Josh Milton October 1, 2019
Primary school pupils put up a colourful display of Pride flags and hearts after their headteacher was the victim of a homophobic hate crime. (Twitter)

Primary school pupils put up a colourful display of Pride flags and hearts after their headteacher was the victim of a homophobic hate crime. (Twitter)

In some heart-melting news, primary school pupils in the UK rallied together to support their headteacher after he was targeted with anti-gay abuse.

Gay headteacher Miles Wallis-Clarke, who has helmed the school for 15 years, was the victim of homophobia when vile vandals sprayed abusive messages outside Hotspur Primary School in Heaton, Newcastle, last Friday.

After seeing the graffiti, he said he felt “damaged” and “sad” over the incident in a school bulletin post that day, the Chronicle Live reported.

“This week some of you will have seen the homophobic abuse about me sprayed at the entrance to school,” he wrote.

“This was hurtful and upsetting.

“The hate crime is being dealt with appropriately. To be attacked for who you are is a horrible experience.

He continued: “How am I feeling? A little damaged to be honest. Sometimes angry and then quite sad.”

Gay headteacher: “From what was a hate crime so much love has come pouring out.”

But on Monday, the headteacher arrived to the school grounds to be greeted by a colourful bunting display spontaneously arranged day parents and pupils.

Hanging outside the school entrance, hand-painted rainbow hearts, Pride flags and knitted-bunting dotted the green school gates.

Wallis-Clarke told the paper that seeing the display of support was overwhelming to him.

He said: “There was quite a bit of graffiti outside the school which was very personal about me and homophobic. It had been put there so parents and students would see.

“I am a gay man, I make no secret of that at school and I’m very open and I talk about it. I have been at the school for 15 years and I have never ever had anything like that.

“But from what was a hate crime so much love has come pouring out.”

Families and friends of the school snuck in to decorate the four entrances to the school with rainbows after reading Wallis-Clarke’s bulletin.

He said he had “hundreds” of people sharing the post, and “thousands of people getting in touch with messages of support”.

“I always stand outside in the morning and I was given cards and letters, and people saying ‘what can we do to help’, and it was just incredible.”

In face of homophobia, headteacher vows to continue LGBT-inclusive education.

However, the hate crime made the headteacher realise the importance of diverse teaching, and vowed to continue his commitment to better LGBT-inclusive education.

He said: “We always do a lot of work on equality and diversity and we know our children are going to live in a diverse society.

“Talking about that is really important and we are looking at what we can do to reinforce that we don’t accept homophobia.

“Our children are really well adjusted and able to say: ‘That’s not right.'”

Wallis-Clarke’s comment comes amid a row over LGBT-inclusive education that reached boiling point this year.

When a primary school headteacher in Birmingham set up an inclusive programme in January, it ignited backlash and debate.

While parents pulled children from lessons and others picketed outside the gates and thronged the streets, others rallied to support him.

In April, the UK parliament approved LGBT-inclusive guidance in relationships education, which is set to become compulsory in UK primary and secondary schools in September 2020.

“Nobody should be victimised for being who they are,” say local police.

Inspector Robert Stowers, of Northumbria Police, confirmed to the Chronicle that law enforcement are treating the vandalism as a hate crime.

“An investigation has been launched following a report of criminal damage at Hotspur Primary School, Heaton,” he said.

“Overnight between September 23 and 24, homophobic graffiti was sprayed on the premises and a path outside the school. We are currently treating the incident as a hate crime and enquiries are ongoing.

“Nobody should be victimised for being who they are and we are taking this incident very seriously – and will take robust action against those responsible.

“Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 349 240919 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

More: Education, Hate crime, headteacher, school

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