Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Schools must reopen to protect children from BAME backgrounds
16 May 2020, 15:46
Children from minority backgrounds are becoming easy targets for criminal gangs the longer that schools remain closed.
Maajid was tackling the news that teacher's unions are reluctant to allow schools to reopen and addressing how this has a disproportionate impact on young people from minority backgrounds which are vulnerable to gangs. "I see them on the street corners with bandanas on their faces" he said.
Jack was calling from Barking and told Maajid that the argument is valid, and he as a BAME teacher can see the the risks of a prolonged lockdown on these children.
Maajid explained that these students "are vulnerable to be recruited into county-line gangs" as they become idle while their parents are more likely to be still working during lockdown. He argued that the longer schools remain closed, the more likely it is for these kids to be recruited into gangs because they have no older role model while their parents are working through the day.
"I'm not naive to know that it's not happening" Jack insisted, telling Maajid that he has seen students recruited by these gangs in times less trying than these.
"I can see with my crystal ball where these guys are going to head" Maajid said. Taking from his own experience as a teenager being groomed by gangs, he insisted that "it takes a split second" for a young person to slip into the world of crime, never mind during the coronavirus pandemic while these students aren't even in school.
Jack insisted that for risks such as this, it is vital for schools to reopen. "We are going to try our best to social distance" he said but insisted that he won't hold it against teachers who are not confident returning to work.
Jack himself committed to returning to work as soon as he can, telling Maajid that "socially and emotionally this will have a lasting effect on these kids" and he feels a duty of service to protect the future of these children and to be the best role model he can.
The teacher quashed claims that schools must remain closed until it is safe, arguing "when is it going to be safe? Social distancing will be in place for two years at least."