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World News

'This must stop': National Church Leaders Forum condems strip search of 15-year-old schoolgirl

by Sophie Drew

The National Church Leaders Forum has spoken out about the 'disregard for human dignity' after a black 15-year-old schoolgirl was strip searched. 

Staff at the Hackney school believed the student smelled of marijuana. They called the police into the school, where the young girl was internally examined by officers. 

At the time of the incident, she was menstruating. 

It's believed she asked for her mother to be present, but was denied. 

She has announced that she will sue the Metropolitan Police Force for their behaviour. She released a statement saying she knew she was 'not alone' in her struggles. 

No drugs were found on her person, or in her bag.

The Local Child Safeguarding Review has confirmed that the incident was fuelled by racism. 

Bishop Joe Aldred, from the National Church Leaders Forum, said: "This incident highlights what appears to be a common, systemic disregard for the humanity, and the human dignity of people that the police and now the education system deal with. 

"From what we read, this is not an isolated case. 

"I'm a father of three daughters - my wife, and I brought up three daughters - I wonder myself, if this had happened to any of my daughters that I sent to school, and for their care, protection and education, what would be my response? 

"I wonder, too, about the adults involved in this case? Do they have children? Do they have daughters? Would they like this kind of way of disrespectful treatment of their daughter to happen? 

"What are we calling for? Well, two or three things, but I think centrally, justice for this child and her family. For the holding to account of those who are responsible for what has happened to her. 

"Justice for me, by the way, means proper recompense, and also proper justice to be brought out in terms of how people are held to account for their actions.

"This must stop. It really must never happen again."

The Independent Office of Police Conduct is investigating three officers. 

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