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Met Police launch probe after headteacher received death threats

Met Police launch probe after headteacher received death threats when member of staff launched petition calling for him to quit over ‘institutional racism’

  • Harris Academy principal Dr Lawrence Foley has been receiving death threats 
  • He was the subject of a petition alleging racism and claims of bullying staff 
  • School reportedly going through ‘restructuring’ forcing staff to take redundancy
  • Comes amid similar protests at schools in Yorkshire and Pimlico, London  

A headteacher has received several death threats after being the subject of a petition to have him sacked over alleged racism in school.

Almost 6,000 people have signed the petition for Dr Lawrence Foley to resign from his role as principal of the Harris Academy in Tottenham.

It was launched last week by the school’s former PE teacher Joshua Adusei, alleging discrimination against black students and staff and sparking protests.

The petition claims Dr Foley has put in place policies that ‘disproportionately affect BAME students’ and has ‘bullied’ staff into accepting redundancy.

 Police have been brought in to conduct patrols of a north London school after headmaster Dr Lawrence Foley was the subject of several deaths amid racism claims by a former teacher

Almost 6,000 people have signed the petition for Dr Lawrence Foley to resign from his role as principal of the Harris Academy in Tottenham

 Almost 6,000 people have signed the petition for Dr Lawrence Foley to resign from his role as principal of the Harris Academy in Tottenham

But now the Harris Academy has issued a warning over staff safety after police received several reports of death threats being sent to the school boss.

The incident comes just weeks after protests at another academy in Pimlico over changes to its uniform policy and removing the union flag and in Batley, Yorkshire for a row over a Muhammad cartoon.

Mr Adusei, who has since been dismissed from his teaching job, also accused the school of ‘institutional racism,’ and claimed Dr Foley permanently excluded three black students in his first three months at the school.

He said that discipline policies have been tightened and disproportionately affected students from Afro-Caribbean backgrounds as well as those with special educational needs.

The petition also demands that restructuring plans that are ‘bullying staff into accepting redundancy’ should be reversed.

It was launched last week by the school's former PE teacher Joshua Adusei, alleging discrimination against black students and staff and sparking protests

It was launched last week by the school’s former PE teacher Joshua Adusei, alleging discrimination against black students and staff and sparking protests

A letter from the school seen by Schools Week pledged to ‘avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible,’ instead blaming falling pupil numbers in Haringey.

Several critical comments by parents and others were posted online following the petition’s publication, and a playground protest was organised after Mr Adusei was initially suspended.

According to Schools Week, one now deleted comment claimed the school was ‘run by white people…who don’t understand the children’ while another compared policies to ‘Putin’s Russia’.

The school has reported to police four death threats received by its executive principal, as well as a threat to stab teachers made via Change.org. 

Mr Adusei, who has since been dismissed from his teaching job, also accused the school of 'institutional racism,' and claimed Dr Foley permanently excluded three black students in his first three months at the school

Mr Adusei, who has since been dismissed from his teaching job, also accused the school of ‘institutional racism,’ and claimed Dr Foley permanently excluded three black students in his first three months at the school

Police acknowledged that they had received reports of deaths threats at the school and had ordered ‘reassurance’ patrols to go past the school gates.  

A Met spokesperson said: ‘On Monday, 21 April police received a report of malicious communications following several online comments directed towards staff at the Harris Academy in Tottenham.

‘Officers carried out enquiries and arranged for reassurance patrols in the area. The dedicated schools officer was also informed.

‘The posts were subsequently removed from the website and no further action was taken.’

A spokesperson for the Harris Federation which controls the school branded the petition ‘misleading, vindictive and vexatious’, adding that its leadership team ‘categorically denies’ claims of racism. 

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