24th September 2021
By Eleanor Busby, PA Education Correspondent
Staff at a school targeted by anti-vaccination campaigners have received “abusive” and violent threats and an “unwelcome” visitor on the site.
David Phillips, head of Chilwell School in Beeston, Nottingham, is making preparations for possible protests outside the school after receiving threatening phone calls, emails and a “poster attack” in just 48 hours.
Mr Phillips told the PA news agency that he has contacted the police about the rise in activity at the school as he condemned the actions of the anti-vaccination campaigners as “reprehensible”.
His comments come after a minister insisted teachers should not face “unacceptable” pressure from anti-vaccination protesters amid the rollout of the Covid-19 jab to children aged between 12 and 15.
On Thursday, Conservative frontbencher Alex Burghart condemned “dreadful anti-vaccination protests” taking place outside schools – which are primarily the sites where vaccines are being offered to children.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has urged campaigners to stop targeting schools amid reports of protesters leafleting students.
Chilwell School pupils were handed out campaign leaflets near to the school in the summer term and posters were put up in the car park accusing the school of “treating children like experimental animals”.
And in the last week, when the school began seeking consent from parents for the Covid-19 vaccination, the headteacher said incidents involving anti-vaccination campaigners have become “more frequent”.
But Mr Phillips said he has “every confidence” that the harassment is not from parents or students.
He told PA: “In the last 48 hours I can now count up one poster attack, two voice messages, either left on the answering machine or directly to reception, I’ve had about five or six email contacts from people, and today (Thursday) also an unwelcome visitor onto the school site and into our reception.”
Mr Phillips said the campaigner who had walked into the school reception area handed him an alleged “cease and desist” letter while filming the incident.
He added: “I have been in fairly frequent communication with the police through this week with the rise of the incidents mainly in order so they have a full picture of the kind of activities that take place.”
Continued at link.