Community members protest outside school where a Black girl was violently attacked

BLM protestors, anti-Blackness
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Shocking video footage of three white girls brutally attacking a Black schoolgirl went viral this week. The attack took place outside Thomas Knyvett College, a secondary school in Surrey, on Monday 6 February. It has since stirred up concerns, particularly within Black communities, over anti-Blackness and racism in schools.

The Independent reported that police have arrested five people so far in relation to the incident, including an adult man and woman and three minors.


Understandably, the video has caused anger and prompted protests from Black communities. People gathered outside the school on 8 February to show solidarity and demand accountability:

Read on...

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Melissa Sigodo, reporter for the Mirror, shared:

According to the Independent, around 200 people attended the protest, which was organised by community activist Raspect from the grassroots collective Forever Family.

Raspect said at the protest:

We’ve seen the video. These situations that our children are facing … they’re not going to face it alone. We’re letting the little girl know that we’re proud of you! You’re a warrior, you had five hyenas trying to bite at your ankles and you’re a lioness that stood up!

[…] Us standing here today sends a ripple effect, to every person in and outside of this community, about what happens when you try to oppress the children. That’s why we’re here.

Condemnation and calls to action

The horrifying video has prompted widespread condemnation online. Labour MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy said:

Meanwhile, British rapper Dave demanded that the school sacks staff members who were complicit in the attack. He included a still from the video showing adults standing by instead of intervening to stop the assault:

On 8 February, the school put out a statement calling the attack an “isolated incident”. However, people have slammed this response as inadequate and have demanded that principal Richard Beeson is sacked:

Moreover, the school’s statement referred to the assault as a “violent altercation”. But as Independent journo Nadine White said:

Public sentiment certainly doesn’t appear to be in Beeson’s favour, since a petition demanding the police question him has been signed by over 78,000 people:


Of course, this racist attack has renewed concerns over racism in schools more broadly – and anti-Blackness in particular. As journalist Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff shared:

Moreover, reports circulated on Twitter suggesting the attackers have Irish Traveller heritage, which added a layer of complexity to the issue:

But while some (white) people used this to dismiss the incident as ‘minority on minority crime’, Black people have long been calling out anti-Blackness among non-Black ethnic minorities.

That the perpetrators of such a vicious attack belong to a persecuted – albeit white – minority has little bearing on the trauma, both individual and collective, this incident has caused:

One Twitter user summed up the reality of Black people not receiving as much as they give in terms of solidarity from other oppressed communities:

Black Lives Matter

MP Janet Daby reportedly raised the Thomas Knyvett incident in parliament on 9 February:

But this issue, of course, goes far deeper than the practices of any one school or institution.

Black Lives Matter‘ has been, in some instances tokenistically, recognised by white institutions in the UK from around 2020, following the police killing of George Floyd. However, this is yet to be backed up with real, tangible solidarity from non-Black people.

Simply saying or tweeting ‘Black Lives Matter’ isn’t good enough. If the video of a lone Black girl getting violently piled on by three white girls, as people look on, tells us anything, it’s that those who might otherwise claim to oppose racism and anti-Blackness need to step up when it counts.

This applies to white people as much as it does to non-Black racial or ethnic minorities. The conversation we need to have is much broader than bullying or racism in schools. It’s about recognising and calling out the anti-Blackness that is endemic in our society, and then actively working to put an end to it.

Featured image via UnSplash – Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona, cropped to 770 x 403 pixels

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