The leading black Christian body in the UK has expressed its “shock and deeply felt outrage” over the treatment of a 15-year-old black schoolgirl who was strip searched by police.
Child Q was removed from an exam and searched by officers after she was wrongly suspected by teachers of possessing cannabis.
The search of Child Q was undertaken by officers without parental consent or another adult present, and despite knowing that the girl had her period at the time.
The National Church Leader Forum (NCLF) said the treatment of Child Q was “awful and totally unmerited”.
“It’s incomprehensible, that suspicion by a teacher of a pupil smelling of cannabis escalated from a search of her belongings to an intimate strip and internal body search by the police, and this at a time of her menstruation,” it said.
“Such ‘disproportionate and harmful’ behavior towards a minor could not possibly have been considered in the interest of the child’s wellbeing and safeguarding needs.
“It speaks much more to treating her as an adult criminal, wholly inappropriate considering her age and the fact that she was at school.”
The NCLF is calling for a full investigation to hold those responsible to account and establish whether personal or systemic racism played a part in the actions of both the school and the police.
It has also called for compensation for Child Q and her family.
“On behalf of the Black Christian community, we offer Child Q and her family sincere prayers and support in this time of great distress,” it said.
“And we call upon the relevant authorities to take all immediate necessary actions to address this matter in the interest of justice for Child Q.”