A top private school has been accused of “everyday racism” in a letter signed by 264 pupils, ex-pupils and parents.
The letter to Norwich School, which was founded in 1096 and given a royal charter by King Edward VI in 1547, has called for staff to be trained to deal “effectively” with racism.
It includes claims of racial slurs such as a teacher telling a pupil he would grow up to be a “drug dealer”.
The school said it was “making changes” and was shocked by the letter.
The letter said racist comments were “often dismissed as jokes”, with victims labelled as “overly sensitive”.
“They must not be tolerated, and if seen or heard during the school day should be recognised and appropriately addressed,” it said.
It includes the account of a teacher mimicking an Indian accent to a class and another pupil being asked to apologise for wearing a Black Lives Matter badge
Allegations of racism at Norwich School
The letter includes a list of allegations by more than 20 former pupils, who say:
- “I was accused of being ‘divisive’ by multiple members of staff for wearing a badge supporting Black Lives Matter and forced to apologise to a racist student for ‘holding views that opposed his’.”
- “Myself and a few other Jewish students were sitting in the library when a student came in waving a Swastika flag. When I raised my voice to chastise him, I was told off yet he was not reprimanded.”
- “One teacher decided to give me an English name so that he didn’t have to feel embarrassed every time he called my name wrong and my classmates corrected him.”
- “I had my name publicly ridiculed for sounding ‘funny’ by a teacher.”
- “I was told off in assembly by a teacher for not singing the hymn. Even when I explained I was Jewish and didn’t feel comfortable singing Christian hymns, the teacher maintained I had to sing.”
- “My nickname in a class group chat was changed to ’12 Years a Slave’ (referring to the 2013 film of an African-American man sold into slavery).”
Headmaster Steffan Griffiths said the examples of racism at the school were “troubling to read, both in the nature and number of instances listed”.
“The school is sorry for the hurt and distress they have caused to members of our community,” he said.
“We aspire to be a loving, compassionate community and regret any instances of unkindness, so this range of recollections, from unintended slight to more intentional unkindness or worse, is difficult indeed, particularly as there is a sense that pupils often did not feel mechanisms of support existed to raise their concerns at the time.”
Mr Griffiths said the school was making changes to tackle racism, but admitted it had a long way to go.