The Trinity Minority Statement “Everyone has a Trinity Story” Anon Around the world, there are many conversations happening about racial inequality, and here in the UK is no diﬀerent. We, ethnic alumni and current students of Trinity Catholic High School believe that it is our responsibility to improve the culture at Trinity which is very detrimental to ethnic minorities. This culture is systemic, propagated by a significant number of teachers and students alike. A group of us want to enact change within the school to improve the experience of current and future minority students. Trinity can oﬀer students an exceptional academic education, however for minority students it leaves much to be desired. Addressing these problems first comes from recognising them. We have complied many diﬀerent accounts from students and alumni, which can be found on the following pages. Some of these might be shocking to some. However, unfortunately they are familiar experiences to us. Of the students that we contacted only 7.3% of them felt that is was a safe space for minorities. One of those responses was from a student that felt very strongly against having a discussion about this issue. They strongly felt that racism was exclusively an American problem and also posted an incorrect statistic about the crime rate in America. This statement is in grey. This lack of basic understanding that not only are Black-British people in fact not African-American, but that dismissing concerns and points of entire demographics of people will not improve the quality of conversation and critical thinking of oneself. Trinity is a place where children and teenagers should be able to grow and mature in an environment that will push them, but that doesn’t discriminate against them. We have all been through school and understand that the lack of life experiences that children have leaves space for them to sometimes say and do disrespectful and cruel things. However, we expect any teaching establishment to have a hardline on such situations. What we actually experienced at Trinity was teachers themselves being racist and discriminatory, setting an unacceptable precedent for the minors they should be shaping. The cultural ignorance we have experienced, and have first hand accounts of, cannot be ignored. This statement itself is the action we have decided to take. This document is publicly available for everyone to see. It’s important for potential students and their parents to understand exactly what is allowed and deemed acceptable at Trinity from their students and from their staﬀ. This is also being sent to Headmaster P.C. Doherty. We believe that he is someone that genuinely cares for the wellbeing of all his students and expect him to release and action his own statements. We wanted people to tell their accounts of their experiences at Trinity in whatever way they feel comfortable. However, we are not trying to start a witch-hunt in the public domain, so the public version of all the statements have been altered, redacting names of teachers and students which were included. The Headmaster will be receiving an unredacted copy of the statements. We want to help produce real positive change to the culture at Trinity, not just for the minority students but for all the students. Thank you for listening to our voice. We believe that positive change to Trinity can come from this. ANON - CLASS OF 2014 [REDACTED TEACHER] refused to pronounce my name correctly and told me that “you lot’s names are always so hard to pronounce” Teachers turned a blind eye to racial slurs being used in class. Discussions about issues such as slavery were basically an opportunity for certain students to express deeply racist opinions while teachers would claim that everyone has to be allowed to express an opinion, even if the said opinion was blatantly racist. I forgot to have my journal signed because I was at my dad’s house, one teacher doubted my story and asked if I even had a dad. White students would get far more lenient punishments for the same issues. The haircut policy is completely stacked against Black students, the diﬀerence in our hair texture was never taken into account. If we had our hair cut and any scalp could be seen, we were given community service. One teacher couldn’t or wouldn’t distinguish between myself and another member of the class who was a person of colour. He was of Indian descent, I’m Black. We didn’t look alike and our names weren’t similar, he got my name wrong in my end of year report as well as at parents evening in front of my parents. ANON - CLASS OF 2014 I was actively discouraged from taking physics as an A level, even though I was getting A’s in science as it might be too hard for me and would not be given any additional help when I expressed my interest. I was called a monkey and King Kong during Maths and when I told my teacher he told me, “don’t interrupt me”. I sat quiet but the boys continued to make jokes and got louder to the point my other peers were laughing at me. I got angry flipped the table over and I got sent out for being aggressive even though I was provoked. I and three other Black students were banned from being in the same group during P.E because we were ‘disruptive’ meanwhile other groups who caused similar issues were not. I was constantly mocked for having braids and called the ‘Predator’. When I complained I was told to ignore the students. A teacher even said my hair doesn’t look very professional. I know a lot of males who were put into hermitage because their hair cut was inappropriate because they got it cut too short which is unjust as their hair grows diﬀerent. ANON - CLASS OF 2018 Even though I will not state my name. I label myself as a female and my ethnicity is Oriental Asian. During my time at Trinity Catholic high school as a whole, the experience was very positive and gave me a lot of growth to shape me into the person I am today. There were moments when racism was a major factor in how I saw myself and how students in the school portrayed me. It was small acts of racist comments such as being called “chinky”. Then they would make chinky eyes towards me. I built tough skin to ignore them and say that it is not okay for them to say. But yet at the end of the day, they just saw me and what as I said as a joke. It lead to bigger issues, which at the time I did not realise was demeaning to my existence as a young woman, when a guy in my year fetishised me because of my race. He had told his friends that he had a fetish for Asians and then continued to lurk around me like I was his prey. At the time I did not think it was a big deal. I was young and naive and I thought people would turn it against me. But looking back, it was disgusting that I let myself to sexualised as an object. I understand there were teachers I could go too. But it is so much harder to do when you are a teenager trying to fit in and not cause any trouble. ANON - CLASS OF 2020 White kids constantly mocked and made fun of my last name as if my African Heritage was funny enough to laugh at. Also, the number of derogatory comments made in classes that teacher chose to ignore is disgusting. I’ve heard things like how it’s better to have more white people in England that we don’t want immigrants to little comments they make about Black girls hair and skin type. Most times teachers ignore what’s going on around them, just something I’ve noticed. It’s crazy that in 2020 schools are still allowing pupils to act like this. ANON - CLASS OF 2016 I was often bullied during the first few years of Trinity. (Year 7-9). The bullying wasn’t harmful per se, it was mostly where my classmates would try to annoy me thinking it was funny for them. But those things made me feel less confident, hence why I was quiet throughout my whole time at trinity until I moved schools for the sixth form and I felt more comfortable elsewhere. I remember a girl, not to name names, all I’m gonna say is that she was white, she told me to “go back to my own country”. At the time it didn’t bother me, I thought it was harmless but now that I think about it, it did feel like a racist thing to say. Although I am of Asian ethnicity, my family has lived here for years, and are British citizens now. For her to say that to me made me feel negative in some way. The other kinds of stories I have were minor things, as I said, a lot of people would annoy me or my other friends (Asian or Black) as if they thought it was entertaining for them. ANON - CLASS OF 2020 One of the times I had been subjected to racism at Trinity was in regard to my hairstyle. Having Afro-Caribbean hair, I decided to style my hair with cornrows. I was told by my science teacher [REDACTED TEACHER], that this was an inappropriate and “outrageous hairstyle for school” and would not be allowed to keep it as such. This is a traditional hairstyle of my Black heritage, and actually neater than having my hair out as an Afro. Although this is one of the more obvious cases of racism I’ve faced, there are a large number of times when I have been singled out or wrongly accused, for things a white pupil has gotten away with. My younger brother currently attends Trinity, and from his accounts to me regarding teachers, I realise this is still an issue today. ANON - CLASS OF 2015 There were many racist incidences in Trinity, for example, white students finding me being African so funny, teachers constantly confusing two Black girls or boys who look nothing alike. I was predicted to have many Ds and Cs for GCSEs despite consistently obtaining B/Cs in-class tests and straight Bs at GCSE, conforming to the notion that Black students are less intellectually capable than white students. The most memorable racist experience I had would be when I was in Year 8 and witnessed a white pupil tell a Black student to “go back to Africa”. This resulted in a clash between the two pupils at “Castle” after school. Having been a witness, I was called into [REDACTED TEACHER]’s oﬃce, where my mother was waiting for me. They insisted that the white pupil had not said “Go back to Africa” and insisted I was lying. Whilst I was clearly distressed and in tears, [REDACTED TEACHER] and [REDACTED TEACHER] continued to insist I was guilty. Once my mother had left, they made me write a police statement detailing the situation and stated that if I lied, I would be in “big trouble” and was placed in hermitage for the rest of the day. I was 12/13 I am now old enough to realise that it is illegal for a minor to write a police statement without the presence of a parent. I feel as if the true intentions being this sanction were to have me “scared straight” - I was 13, this was extremely unnecessary. I believed that racism in Trinity was not tolerated, however, it was quite the opposite. I was penalised for “lying” and “bullying” this student, who had a known history of racism and bullying other Black female students. I can recall her making a Facebook page called “Essex Baited” where she would cyberbully and write racially charged messages about these individuals, for example, students were called “ratchet”, “gorilla” etc. The main problem which can be deduced from this scenario and, I assume, other examples, is that Black students were always given tougher sanctions than white students for the same behaviour, and in some cases, white students received no sanctions for anti-social behaviour. This created the notion that Black students had to be EXCEPTIONAL in order to not be targeted. When I was in year 8, almost every Black student, including myself, was on report, despite the fact that none of us were bad pupils, one foot wrong, and Black students were almost blacklisted as bad students. ANON - CLASS OF 2017 I was called a Chinese bitch in year 9. A boy from another class in years 10 and 11 repeatedly made disgusting comments about my Asian heritage and my body, making derogatory jokes about my genitals and Chinese food. Because I tried so hard to fit in, in that instance, I apologised for my Asianness and felt like I had to not overreact because of it being 'just a joke'. People sometimes pulled their eyes at the sides and used the word 'squinty'. Another boy would tease me and bully me if I ever saw him in the corridors; he rammed his shoulder into my face when he walked past me in the lunch hall. This was dealt with by a teacher after my friend reported it. In these experiences, I felt like I couldn't say anything because racism towards Chinese people is often seen as a joke and not serious enough, something that I had to just put up with. It made me feel less safe and less valid in terms of my identity, and very sad at times. My sister experienced racism in the coronavirus pandemic to the point of coming home crying because of bullies saying not to go near her, shouting at her and about her to others, and that she eats dogs. My other sisters also were told before the school closed for the lockdown that they eat dogs. ANON - CLASS OF 2014 From memory, the only racism directed towards me was by teachers and staﬀ. Teachers would talk to me in a patronising manner although they would know that I am fully capable. If not I would ask for clarification. This was some that would happen from the start until the end of my time at Trinity. I did feel as if some white students would be racist to students of colour but not me since I could be considered “intimidating”. ANON - CLASS OF 2017 1. Being called Madagascar because I was Black, but was not from there at all. 2. Being purposefully made uncomfortable being the only Black person in English when the word “n*g*a” came up in the book. 3. Hearing [REDACTED TEACHER] tell my friend he will get the KKK on them! There has been plenty of other occasions. ANON - CLASS OF 2017 During my maths lessons in year 10/11, my maths teacher purposefully mistook the names of, punished, and picked on the children of colour. Many times I have been called the N-word and other racially derogatory terms. Many times monkey noises have been made when walking around school grounds by white boys in the year above. This is a select few examples at the top of my head. ANON - CLASS OF 2014 Outside school premises a former pupil two years above me called me a stupid Nigerian. ANON - CLASS OF 2020 Students would use derogatory racist terms repeatedly, in order to belittle me. Teachers would tell me and my ethnic group to ‘disperse’ to ‘avoid scaring younger students’. Teachers would perpetually check in on us when we were sat down as if they were trying to catch us doing something. My friends and I received harsher behavioural sanctions for the same incident as my white friends. Trinity is so blatantly racist. ANON - CLASS OF 2019 I was constantly targeted by a boy in my form from around years 7-9, which only stopped because he was moved into another class after complaints about his sexually harassing behaviour. This boy had taken an intense disliking to me and whether or not that was to do with racial prejudice or just he didn't like me/wanted to pick on someone, I don't know. One moment that stands out was in year 7 when he pulled his fingers up to his eyes to make them slitty (mimicking my 'Chinese eyes') and started doing an oﬀensive dance/gesture in what I assume was a stereotypical 'Asian dance movement'. I wrongfully pushed him in the back out of shock and anger. We were both put in isolation for the day and each wrote a statement of the incident, in which he accused me of breaking his back and being a bully. We were then questioned by the head of year and after me retelling it now for a 4th time I was then called a liar by the teacher. I was incredibly disheartened by the fact that they didn't believe me, and I do put it down to the fact that I didn't have the eloquence that the boy did. We were then sent home. There was no sense of punishment, re-education, or addressing the racism that was displayed by him. Similar incidents occurred over the next three years mainly with the same boy, who proved to be a racist, sexist bully. I was pushed on the floor by him, told to 'go back to my country and eat sushi', and a group of boys including him would continually talk in gross detail about the several hours of Asian 'Hentai porn' they would watch and imitate the sexual noises to purposefully intimidate and make people uncomfortable, amongst other derogatory misogynistic behaviour to many girls in the year group. I was also asked a lot of times over the years whether I ate cats and dogs. I felt extremely disappointed that this behaviour was never dealt with adequately, despite numerous complaints, and the teachers' response to the 9 girls in my form who 'testified' against that boy's and other boys' behaviour was to move him to another form, where there was obviously still no shortage to the amounts of people he could racially and sexually terrorise. All in all, these experiences at Trinity made me feel that I was not safe, that my word meant nothing and that I would never be taken seriously as the girl who was always 'oﬀended' at these 'jokes'. Albeit no teacher had ever said it was only a joke or whatever, but their silence and reluctance to act against racism certainly felt like a testament to me that my voice didn't matter. I went through years thinking that maybe it was okay that I was treated like that sometimes and that jokes were just jokes and I needed to grow a thicker skin and not be a 'killjoy', because it seemed that racism towards Asian people was always 'funny' and not really racist. This honestly made me feel very insecure in my identity and hesitant to speak out against any further racist jokes made to me or in front of me, for fear of being disliked or dismissed by others. ANON - CLASS OF 2017 I never had any negative run-ins with students, I did feel however that there was a certain person that was employed, who will not be named, that did have a more negative tone towards the ethnic students that were in the class. I hope that this person’s bias has either changed or that they have been removed/left. ANON - CLASS OF 2020 I have been teased for my red hair colour for years and I was once even hit across the head by someone years older than me within the school, while they called my names and cursed. I felt that I had to take it as a joke so any time it happened I’d laugh it oﬀ. ANON - CLASS OF 2019 I would say growing up I was pretty sheltered. I was quite privileged to attend a private girls school for almost all my educational experience. I joined Trinity for Sixth Form because I wanted to experience something new and to be honest, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I am mixed-race, my father being white and my mum being Filipino. I never experienced racism at all before joining Trinity so I never really had an insight beforehand. When I was at Trinity I got called chinky a lot and sometimes people would say “let’s build a wall” because I look slightly Mexican. However, I never took these comments seriously, I don’t actually have slit eyes, therefore, being called chinky was just because I was from Asia and I didn’t really care, it was the first time this was happening and I didn’t make much of is seriously at the time, but as time went on I started to become insecure. Growing up I saw myself as white however I had some sort of cultural crisis and my mum taught me the majority of my Filipino culture. This insecurity I grew to have aﬀected me in ways I didn’t think it could, I became embarrassed of my race and wanted to be whiter and tried dying my hair lighter which to this day I completely regret. I am proud of my race and I feel like if these little comments were able to change me what about those who have experienced racism since they were born, no one should be ashamed of their race and everyone should be treated as equals. ANON - CLASS OF 2014 I had low predicted GCSE & A-Level grades and I outperformed all predictions. This meant I could not apply to the University of choice due to low predicted A-Level grades... smashed my A-Levels but still could not go to the desired University as the course was full. Grade predictions are inherently and insidiously racist. Why are factors like my postcode, if I’m the first person to go to university in my family and my household income factors in determining my predicted grade? Also, some teachers have an inherent bias. I asked an English teacher to change my predicted grade from B to A and she said no because she did not believe I was capable, ending up getting an A* in the final year. ANON - CLASS OF 2019 On more than one occasion someone has said the n-word to me or my friends. When we went to the teachers about it the only form of discipline they received was being told oﬀ and then they would act like the victim when we explained why we were oﬀended. Racism was not always as explicit as someone calling you the n-word. I did not like how from year 7-9 we never talked about Black history month, the only thing I saw in relation to Black history was a poster that was kept outside one of the history classrooms. However, when Black history month was first talked about in year 10, it was then changed to cultural history month so everyone would feel included. Every year we would have an assembly on the holocaust but it was never changed to talking about all genocides that have happened in the world, so why was this done to Black history month. A school is a place of education and although the civil rights movement and the end of apartheid happened in other countries, slavery was still a thing in England. Racism still exists in England and where parents fail to adequately educate their children, the school should be there to tell them this is wrong. The idea of cultural history month is a good one but it should not have been done in the same month to replace Black history month. The lack of education on diﬀerent cultures is why I think students would make certain oﬀensive comments and even when I try to explain to them why it was oﬀensive they would not get it. Throughout my time in Trinity, at least one person has made a comment regarding my hair and how it was 'fake', but then when I would come into school with my natural hair, they would still find a way to make fun of it. This really impacted how confident I felt about myself because someone always had something to say about it. Also, whenever I would be in a large group of Black people teachers would always come up to us and basically tell us to disperse, but when a group of white students was huddled together they were left alone. ANON - CLASS OF 2021 Ching chang ching. Are you from China? Do you sleep on mats? Do you use chopsticks? Covid? Tourist? Did you get that from Chinatown? Honestly, it's the sheer ignorance of some of these students, I understand that they're not educated in it, but it's not like anyone is teaching them what's wrong. I used to blame myself for choosing to go to a school that’s predominantly white, maybe it's normal for people to do this and it's not. A child shouldn't be used to comments like these. These comments are minor compared to some others that people get and it's not fair. ANON - CLASS OF 2018 There was once an incident where a group of Black boys in the year above me were running past me away from a teacher. The teacher following them saw me and decided to say that I was a part of that group. It was only until the real culprits were found that they let me go to class. This took 45 minutes. ANON - CLASS OF 2014 At the time I didn’t realise that maybe it was because of my skin colour because I was naive back then. I had a few incidents with other students where they treated me with suspicion even though they didn’t know me. One example that I was accused of stealing despite the fact that I wasn’t the only one in the area where that item went missing. But for some reason as the only Black girl there I was the most suspicious. They confronted me during break time and when my friends and I told them that we didn’t see the item, they came back with more of their friends to intimidate us, we left, and they decided to follow me around the playground until the bell rang. I don’t know what happened afterward, but it made me feel like I had to prove myself more than everybody else. ANON - CLASS OF 2014 Firstly being the only Latina student in my year was hard enough, because that itself the students (white students) make you feel like an outsider. I was there for 5 years and those 5 years I was reminded every day that I wasn’t white, got called Mexican or Chinese, and was made to feel embarrassed talking in my native language by shouting “tacos”, “arriba arriba” and “speedy Gonzales”. Many occasions I was told to kill myself, got locked into rooms, bag stolen, hit, and occasionally sexually harassed by white boys in my year. They did this by lifting up my skirt and touching my breasts when I was walking to class. The teachers knew about this told me it was my fault for hanging around boys and in a nicer way said I deserved it. Due to my ethnicity and genes I did develop quicker than other girls but that gave no reason for any boy to touch me and for teachers to turn a blind eye to it. I was also called yellow, drug smuggler and constantly told I came oﬀ a boat. I was also fly kicked in the back by a boy in front of many people in the lunch hall , and no teacher told him oﬀ and pretended they didn’t see him assault me. I was told on one occasion by [REDACTED TEACHER] that she only liked me when I was sitting with “white” girls however the white girls belittled me and was made to oppress my ethnicity. In psychology class by [REDACTED TEACHER] she had me and two other Black girls sitting away from the rest of the class, whistle the white students got to shout out, be rude to us and isolate us. She never listen to us or chose us to answer a question. It made me feel like an outsider physically and emotionally due to her actions. Finally a story I and many from history class with [REDACTED TEACHER] witnessed was him leaving Iraq news reports about terrorism in a student’s book whose ethnicity was Iranian. I was disgusted to see this more than once. Trinity did not let any person who was diﬀerent, quirky, outspoken, or their ethnic self to be themselves it was either be white or act “white” for the school otherwise you would kick out, isolate, put on report or tell oﬀ constantly and remembered that you were diﬀerent. ANON - CLASS OF 2017 A teacher called [REDACTED TEACHER] repeatedly called Black students niggers in his history lessons and remind students that they were not as respected as white students in the class and told they would be murdered if they were seen walking on the street with a white person if the KKK saw them. Every time I asked him to stop he would say that he only said it for educational purposes and it is so we can understand the racial history and it will help with our coursework. It got to the point I stopped attending the lessons because I felt as though I was repeatedly picked on because of my skin colour and I did not feel comfortable entering a class where I felt I was going to be victimised because of the colour of my skin. ANON - CLASS OF 2020 Being called sinister-looking by [REDACTED TEACHER] for just talking in the playground with my friends. When questioned her about it she complained that we were abusing her. We were then told by other senior staﬀ members to apologise to her and realise that we may have intimidated her. That's absurd because if we were intimidating, she would never have come to us and said such a thing. Also, I would like to add that I believe the way the school treats children of ethnic minorities is completely unacceptable. As a Black student at Trinity Catholic High School I have been on numerous occasions be on the receiving end of systematic racism. Teachers such as [REDACTED TEACHER] and [REDACTED TEACHER] need to be under investigation for their racist actions. ANON - CLASS OF 2019 Though I personally never felt racially targeted whilst at Trinity, I witnessed and felt aggrieved by countless occasions of overt and covert racism during my time at the school. This includes the unfair expulsion of Black students, particularly Black boys, compared to white boys often involved in the same misdemeanour. The mindless use of the n-word, thrown about as if it’s a joke by students in the playground/common room. My substitute music teacher told my a level class that the Black boys who spent their lunchtime rapping and making beats in the music room were ‘thugs’ and would ‘probably stab each other’ - hardly an encouragement of musical self- expression that was given to white students practicing more ‘agreeable’ music. Even the staﬀ structure of the school - it was never lost on me that the senior staﬀ team was entirely white whereas the majority of BAME staﬀ members were of kitchen and cleaning positions. Given the ethnic diversity of the student body, it’s necessary that the teachers and members of staﬀ also reflect this. Trinity has always stood by a weak message of racial harmony linked to catholic ideology but it’s important now to actively address and reform how the racial structure of the school aﬀects the students they’re educating. This is a brief summary of how race has aﬀected my experience at trinity but I know for certain that this opinion has been and still is shared amongst students, parents, and teachers alike. Nothing will change overnight but the confrontation of racial dynamics within the school has been long overdue. ANON - CLASS OF 2016 My whole entire academic year in French. My teacher had a personal agenda against me. It was so bad until my own parents noticed it and had to get involved. My teacher made me feel inferior despite trying to improve my own grades immensely. She had a fixed attitude and didn’t even commend me on my new outlook on learning. She had lied to my parents to their face about my grades, had constantly picked on me, and even messed up my entry to the sixth form, hence not coming back. I didn’t want to feel like that again. ANON - CLASS OF 2018 Mixing up me and another student because we were both Black, being told my skirt was too “short/tight” when other white students had the exact same skirt I had, being labeled as aggressive even though I didn’t speak, etc. ANON - CLASS OF 2017 When I attended Trinity I was a white girl in a friendship group with five Black girls. I was constantly tormented by other white students who would call me names such as “wigger” meaning a “white n****r”. My experience at Trinity was horrible. I was told every day that I couldn’t be friends with my friends because I wasn’t Black. I was constantly reminded how I was the odd one out and how this was weird and abnormal. I was made to feel that if I stopped hanging out with my Black friends then my life at Trinity would be easier. When I reported this behaviour to teachers (often in tears) it was just disregarded and shrugged oﬀ, I was told to just ignore it. My experience and treatment at Trinity, being tormented just for hanging out with Black students, can only tell how much worse of an experience it was for my Black friends. ANON - CLASS OF 2014 As a Black male that came into the school in sixth form, from a much more diverse secondary school, I was shocked at the behaviour from the students which the teachers just allowed. I remember being asked in the middle of the class, for everyone to hear from a white guy if I was "hung like a horse", which the "no-nonsense" teacher just laughed oﬀ. I also remember a pupil in my year called [REDACTED STUDENT]. [REDACTED STUDENT] got a land rover during sixth form that he named "The Muslim Slayer" and was constantly racist. When I asked other Black students about him they said "he's always been like that". Trinity allowed the normalisation of [REDACTED STUDENT]’s behaviour. ANON - CLASS OF 2017 My brother arrived at school with canerows, and was singled out and sent home despite the fact another white student had the same, implying the hairstyle was threatening and would disturb his studies. In reality, this was a sensible hairstyle that is representative of his culture. But the other white student did not get any form of warning about his hairstyle, despite it being the same. ANON - CLASS OF 2013 I never felt Black enough. ANON - CLASS OF 2020 My experience with racism in trinity was more like a feeling. After hearing other people’s experiences I’m lucky to not have experienced it directly, but it still is not excusable. It was always a feeling of being other. It was like it was students and teachers who had pre-determined ideas of what I would be like and it was very hard to break that conception. Preferential treatment to certain people was clear. I was always in fear of running into a racist incident with the teacher and not knowing what to do. Throughout high school, I knew that some teachers held certain views from anecdotal stories and would actively avoid them. This is something a child should not have to fear and should trust the teachers to not say something oﬀensive. In addition, having two older brothers that went to the high school years before me I was often pulled up for my last name with snide comments made up about their ‘reputation’ almost as if they expected us to be like them and not succeed. Whilst this is not my experience my older brothers feel like they weren’t supported and their cycle of bad behaviour was perpetrated by constant targeting and the harsh punishments that would set them back in school work. Throughout my time at Trinity, I never wore my natural curls out mainly because I feared I’d get bullied for it and knew I’d be told oﬀ by teachers even though my white peers were able to have their hair out. I distinctly remember being teasers for is my big lips and big hair by my white peers and never felt comfortable reporting it as I knew it would probably be dismissed, Whilst I was surrounded in a group of nearly all-Black girls I always felt like we were known for our race. Teachers often confused our names even after years of them teaching us. Like I said at the beginning, the racism I experienced at Trinity was more of a feeling that a direct experience. Looking back I felt I had no support system, I didn’t even feel comfortable going to teachers, I did not feel like I fit in at all. In the future, I hope they’re all movements made towards building a stronger support system for Black people particularly Black girls who were often subject to both sexism and racism by peers and teachers alike. ANON - CLASS OF 2017 It never really did for me. Most people got along well and if they didn't it was never due to race from what I saw. The only thing I can think of was instances of friends group jokes involving racial stereotypes eg. Black people liking chicken. But at the time it was always welcomed banter between each other. I poked fun at them and they poked fun at me in return. There was never any malice and it was a comfortable friend’s environment. No one did that who was outside the group of friends as then it would have been uncomfortable and oﬀensive. ANON - CLASS OF 2015 I was in year 8/9 and it was in the morning before school started and we were not allowed in the lower site-building just yet. I walked in and [REDACTED TEACHER] told me to leave and wait outside. Obviously me being a moody kid, I said "skeen" and started to walk outside. She yelled at me to come back inside and go straight to the oﬃce. I was confused. I had no idea what I had done that was so bad. I waited at the oﬃce for about 30+ mins before [REDACTED TEACHER] came to me and yelled at me. I asked her what I had done and she told me not to play dumb and that I knew exactly what I had done. Apparently I had "kissed my teeth". They called my mum into school on her birthday after I begged and pleaded that I didn't kiss my teeth but they didn't believe me. When my mum was there, I think they must have thought I would have told the "truth" in front of her but I literally didn't kiss my teeth and they refused to believe me. Kissing your teeth was such a big deal in Trinity when the Black students did it, I even remember one time a teacher came to us on Uppersite and had a lecture about us kissing our teeth and that they know what it means in our culture. He said it means "fuck you". I remember being so confused because I don't know who told him that lie. But the fact that he said it in front of the class and in front of all the white Essex students, I believe makes things worse as that only creates a divide amongst students rather than fixing the so-called issue. ALSO… I'm sure I butchered the two teachers’ names I mentioned. Kind of like they always butchered my Nigerian surname after I corrected them several times. ANON - CLASS OF 2014 Trinity was a hard place for south Asian minorities. As it was a catholic, majority-white school, racism towards particular ethnic groups was widely tolerated due to there being much smaller numbers of them. I myself being of mixed Asian heritage had experienced a number of racist comments directed at me from other pupils. From being called a “paki”, to being told to go back where I came from. I feel the fact I was half white meant that I didn’t experience as much racism as others of South Asian heritage. I witnessed particular people have racist comments hurled at them on a daily basis. One memory that sticks out, in particular, was in a GCSE physics lesson, a white boy loudly referred to a Sri Lankan boy as a terrorist while the teacher not only just watched, but laughed at this racist comment. This is an example of how forms of racism were not only accepted by students in Trinity, but also by the teachers. I never reported any incidents that personally happened to me as I never got the feeling from the school that they would be taken seriously. ANON - CLASS OF 2020 Racism within Trinity is inherent from Year 7 and bares minimal to no repercussions whether from relentlessly mocking and taunting African accents to blatantly saying you are of the superior race. White peers would always perpetuate racially motivated micro-aggressions, namely, putting your hands in my natural hair namely, as I was walking down the stairs, as to insinuate they have a right to touch me as if you are a zoo animal. Perhaps this was stemming from slavery where white slave owners and colonisers put Black people in cages like circus animals and allowed white people to pay to watch. This definitely aﬀected my confidence to the point I nearly lost sight of the beauty in my hair. Packing my hair in braids did not divert the situation, in PE I was patiently in line, then this white girl, grabs my braids and starts examining my beads unprovoked. This was extremely degrading and I was left speechless. One distinct racist encounter was when a white boy blatantly said; “ I am of the superior race, no one can touch me, even the law says so.” I asked my teacher if this was racist and she said that it was, so I said that that is what this specific boy said. Instead of sanctioning him, she made excuses for him, saying what he was saying was misinterpreted. I took it up to the head of the year and he did a brief, flimsy and unspecific assembly about, “you should be careful what you say.” Another way Trinity completely ignored the giant in the room. There were many more incidents that I reported and perhaps this made my classmates angry that I wasn’t comfortable with them saying racist and Islamaphobic comments to the point they started harassing me in English class whether this was by throwing paper airplanes, glue sticks, which on one occasion hit my eye, scissors, and other things. I consistently complained and asked to move English class especially as this was GCSEs years but my complaints were ignored so I avoided as many English lessons as possible which was possibly detrimental to my GCSEs because Trinity as an institution chose to do nothing. Students would say that “why should Black people come here and expect to be taught their history?” Completely ignoring the Windrush and the capturing and displacement of Black people to the U.K. stemming back to the 16th century. This is possible because the only Black history we ever received was the Rwandan genocide which they also left out the fault of the white man and instead provided a white saviour complex my constantly mentioning the priest and a five-minute video. Black history month was turned into cultural history month and Asian history month was simply ignored. This was extremely insulting to Black students as it was as if to say that Black history and the education and identity of Black students do not matter. In Trinity Catholic High School, it is more of an oﬀence to call out racism and racially motivated micro-aggressions than it is to be a racist. My friend and I were reprimanded for calling out someone for being racist which I believe was more than the white girl got for openly calling a group of Black boys “Black slaves” and saying the n-word. Trinity Catholic High School consistently gaslighted you for speaking about the elephant in the room to the point that it made you feel that it was all in your head, it is therefore imperative that students speak about their experiences. ANON - CLASS OF 2014 I had one teacher who made a comment about not caring if my parents came to parents evening. That same teacher then accused me of not handing coursework in which was a lie. I raised it to the head of year who told me to drop the subject and do it just as an AS level Another teacher said he felt I couldn’t achieve higher than a B despite the fact that I was a very hardworking student. He was unhelpful when I approached him for help. My parents paid for a tutor and I got an A Overall the school has very low expectations of Black students. White students used the N-word freely and mocked African names. ANON - CLASS OF 2012 1) When I was in year 7, the year 11s told us no niggers allowed on the football pitch, my friend went on and was beaten up by the white year 11s, 2 teachers watched and after my friend was excluded for "provoking" the year 11. 2) When another of my friends joined the school he was forced to cut his locks. 3) The school told me my cornrow was an "extreme hairstyle". 4) Many of the white students were openly racist and there were minimal or no repercussions for them. 5) Anyone with an African name was openly ridiculed. 6) I saw Asian students called "dirty pakis" and "Muslim pricks" (even though it is a catholic school). 7) [REDACTED TEACHER] said to my mum and sister that "anybody who isn't white is Black" This was in a conversation after an incident where she told the dinner ladies "don’t feed those Black girls over there". 8) Teachers overly punished minority students compared to their white counterparts. 9) There was a one on one fight between 2 students, (one Black one white) there were other white and Black students present but after we had an assembly and the school told us a "gang" of students attacked another student referring to the group of students present at the fight (but weren't involved) who were Black. ANON - CLASS OF 2011 My cousins were told by [REDACTED TEACHER] that the world is Black and white when they were mixed race. When brought to [REDACTED TEACHER] (I believe) it was dismissed. There was no HR investigation into the claim along with the teaching standards, or code of conduct. [REDACTED TEACHER] regularly singled out Black students for incorrect colour of coats, bags, or clothing items which wasn’t in the student policy but ignored white students IF they were from a middle-class background. Receptionist staﬀ on lower and upper school would change their attitude and mannerism depending which colour of students they were dealing with, they often spoke to students with disrespect and in an aggressive tone. Compared to when they were dealing with their daughter (lower school) and all her white friends who needed something she would have a change of attitude and be more helpful compared to a Black student who would be asking for the exact same request. I spent many times at the Reception Oﬃce, and this was a constant issue I picked up at the ages of 12-14. Throughout my school life at Trinity, the diﬀerence in how teachers treated Black students in comparison to white students was completely visible. Within the school, there was also elements of classism linked to racial treatment. Black students who would regularly get reprimanded were from a working-class background in comparison to equally bad behaviour by white students who were from a middle-class background and donated money to the school on a regular basis; their behaviour was never handled in a fair manner. The curriculum at the school did not educate students of racism and although we could see the unfairness across the school. We were unable to understand truly what was happening to tell our parents. There were many occasions when you would see a larger proportion of Black students on an academic report in comparison to white students. White students were often given more of a warning whereas Black students were automatically put on report. Being part of the ‘naughty’ group of kids, and being from working-class and never feeling I fit in within the school. I felt the school wasn’t inclusive enough. Let alone students who were of a Black minority. There was a higher amount of Black students in Hermitage then white students. There were harsher punishments to them, than to students who behaved equally as bad or even worse based on their race or class. I now work in a school, within an HR function, I can clearly look back on the issues and see that teaching staﬀ was not trained appropriately inequality in the workplace, safeguarding was lacking, the school was not deemed as a safe place for student as teaching staﬀ was unaware of confidentiality, not enough diverse staﬀ across management or teachers, the management of the school was led too white, top-heavy, in the simplest term. All the teaching staﬀ who were related to the Headteacher, students would know they were untouchable and in turn, unfairly treated pupils. The list could go on, and on. Management could have changed but I think the real focus, the school needed to look at, is training staﬀ appropriately, looking at prejudices right at interview, teaching staﬀ around unconscious bias, look at your equality and diversity data, promote Black in inclusion, review your curriculum, create an open and transparent culture and stop treating people diﬀerently by their skin. Oh and lastly, encourage your staﬀ to speak out when they see something wrong! Teaching assistants were often aware of issues, and tried to balance this unfairness out but unfortunately was unable to succeed. It’s a shame, that a catholic school had so many issues that so many staﬀ and management were aware of and never tackled it because they probably didn’t care. I am white and was witness to the unfair treatment to Black people at this School, indirect and direct discrimination. ANON - CLASS OF 2013 I was the only Black boy in my class. ANON - CLASS OF 2015 The majority of the school would make racist jokes targeting Black and Asian people only and would see it as okay because they were only joking, a lot of people wouldn’t associate themselves around me simply because I was Black. ANON - CLASS OF 2015 One teacher who taught graphic design, [REDACTED TEACHER] (I believe it's spelt), often made racial comments directed at students. One instance was a student looking for Stanley knife and asked him where it was, in which he replied "[REDACTED STUDENT] probably stole it" who was one of the few Black students in the class. Another instance I remember was directed towards myself, as he held up a ziplock bag of white powder and shouted towards me "you know all about this don't you" (I'm half Colombian so was playing on the cocaine stereotype). I was only 15 years old. ANON - CLASS OF 2017 I remember being in class and a few students and myself were talking about corruption. Then a teacher came in and talked about how Nigeria is very corrupt. I was highly oﬀended. In addition, I remember when a teacher told our class about how she was scared when she saw a group of Black boys. I was very upset and this made me very anxious. ANON - CLASS OF 1999 They would believe lies about me just because I was the only Black kid in school. ANON - CLASS OF 2017 While the main points of this event are accurate some details will be less so as it was an event that occurred over half a decade ago. In Year 8 I called a fellow classmate the N-word to her face, after she told her parents they informed the school and I was taken out of class and to a meeting with [REDACTED TEACHER]. I was understandably reprimanded for such a horrible act but for this unacceptable behaviour I received little real punishment. Rather than suspension or cloisters, I believe I only had a letter sent to my parents. While I was fortunate to have parents who educated me on how abhorrent such language was it’s understandable that some students may be in a domestic environment where parents are less willing to take these steps. The racial abuse that I had perpetrated should not a matter solely for parents to deal with and I believe it should have warranted far harsher action on the school’s part. Saturday School, Cloisters, and detention were punishments handed out for far less serious oﬀences. While I understand it’s somewhat hypocritical for the person who committed such an act to advocate for harsher punishment I’m in a unique position as a perpetrator rather than a victim and I’d be remiss not to share my experience to help try to prevent and prevent racial abuse in future. It’s important for such behaviour to receive punishment and education to inform students and dissuade such acts in the future. Secondary education should pave the way for students to enter the wider world and in a school as diverse as Trinity it’s vital for issues of race to be addressed. ANON - CLASS OF 2017 I was always labeled as disruptive and nuisance. I always told I wouldn’t pass in life. I wasn’t allowed to have my braids. ANON - CLASS OF 2013 Despite being only 13% of the population, over 50% of violent crime is committed by african americans. Stop importing American identity politics into the UK please. ANON - CLASS OF 2016 In Year 7 a “friend” of mine said Asian people are useless (paraphrasing) ... he started oﬀ by saying white people have money and power, but what are Asians good for? This pretty much destroyed my self-esteem for the rest of my time at Trinity. ANON - CLASS OF 2013 My Year 8 English teacher scribbled all over my homework in red pen because he said my poem must have been plagiarised because it was too good. I cried. I put a lot of eﬀort into it. He killed my love for the subject. He was an old white man very close to retirement. After that happened I even put my poem through google to see if anything came up and it didn’t. He had no evidence. He might as well have ripped up my work in my face. Multiple teachers would repeatedly say my name wrong despite me correcting them. One of them was the worse and would purposely say it wrong and laugh about it. Teachers would confuse me with the only other 2 Black girls in my class. We looked completely diﬀerent. Other students would say Black girls are ugly and make fun of me and other Black girls. The way teachers would treat other Black students to aﬀected my experience. They would say people that wore certain things like a beanie hat looked like gang members. The way I saw them treat my brother was horrible too. The school often labeled Black boys as trouble and didn’t give them a chance. ANON - CLASS OF 2012 When I was in Year 7, I got put into the hermitage for apparently having an attitude. During my time in the heritage with 3 other white boys in Year 11. I experienced racism on a daily basis leaving me in tears. Whilst sitting in the hermitage they would send me notes and make fun of my African surname and mimic monkey and weird noises as if I was from a jungle. During my time at the heritage, [REDACTED TEACHER] wasn’t always present and that gave the boys the chance to bully me. I later reported this behaviour to [REDACTED TEACHER] in tears and was able to leave the hermitage earlier than my time. [REDACTED TEACHER] took me out of the situation but I don’t know if the students faced any punishment. Furthermore, during my time at Trinity teachers punished African students for “kissing their teeth” which is our culture. Kissing your teeth is not cursing at the teacher. In the African culture kissing your teeth means many diﬀerent things, and is something we are brought up doing from home. If a Black student was told oﬀ by a Teacher at Trinity and the student kissed their teeth, Trinity felt it was right to either isolate, expel or put them in the hermitage. This was VERY wrong, kissing your teeth is an act done out of frustration, anger and tiredness. Teachers at Trinity needed to educate themselves better on the meaning behind this act and I felt some Black students were wrongly punished for this. Especially the ones that didn’t kiss their teeth to insult a teacher. This in fact is an insult to the African culture for white teachers to punish Black students for an act that didn’t always mean harm to the teacher. When white students were able to cross their arms or “huﬀ and puﬀ” when they are getting in trouble and are frustrated. In addition, teachers at Trinity sometimes made fast judgments on Black students which at times made us feel uncomfortable especially as some of us were not as privileged as the white students. It was very obvious that some of the more privileged white students got away with some things that the Black students couldn’t get away with. Lastly and most importantly the Black teachers at Trinity were treated diﬀerently. And it was very obvious. I feel so bad for the Black teachers at Trinity who were insulted for their African heritage and for having an African accent. The white teachers saw these things and ignored them and it’s not fair! These teachers need an apology. ANON - CLASS OF 2012 Many times. During my school life, I experienced direct racism from students as well as indirect racism from teachers. Have witnessed white students using derogatory terms towards myself and other Black students. Certain teachers would constantly treat students from ethnic minorities diﬀerently - ethnic minorities including myself. I did not have a very good experience at this school and am very disappointed that I had this experience. ANON - CLASS OF 2014 Trinity has this extremely pervasive tactic to generally erase all identity in young people. Uniformity and “community cohesion” are prioritised over individuality and self-expression. The most insidious way this is manifested is the erasure of racial experiences. The best way to survive was to completely assimilate; chemically relaxing Black natural hair to confirm with the beauty standards or allow white students to say n****r. The most upsetting thing is the way we, as former/ current Black students, would not speak up for ourselves. Black students were presumed to “have an attitude” if speaking up in defence of their beliefs, and after 5 or so years in this environment we became silent. I had a certain teacher take me out of her class after I apologised for laughing - even though the whole class laughed - she took me outside and said I “should be lucky to have an education because there are children in Africa would kill for my opportunity”. First I must say, education is a right, not a privilege. But as a Black girl from East London, I was “lucky”. It’s one thing to have students display outwardly racist behaviour, it’s another to have teachers either engage in the same unacceptable behaviour, or to hear these words and actively choose not to fulfil their role as teachers, and educate these students - who inevitably will go onto professional environments with these unchallenged views. White boys thought Black boys were naturally more athletic because they came from slaves. Black African teachers were openly mocked by students with racial stereotypes. It’s the whole institution of the school. Hiding behind catholic ideology like missionaries sent to “civilise the savage Africans”, Trinity repeatedly demonstrated to Black students that they cared less about their wellbeing and more about their grades. Finally, Trinity’s first and foremost function is to educate the students sent there by parents expecting a safe and educational environment for their children. In this, Trinity has failed, and hearing from students who were there long after me, I have reason to believe anything has changed. I know for myself with absolute certainty, I would never send my child to a school like Trinity, even if it were the only school available. ANON - CLASS OF 2018 I do not recall being a targeted victim of racism while I was at Trinity. I do, however, remember being a victim of several micro-aggressions such as having a group of friends that was predominantly Black and being referred to as a "gang" by both students and staﬀ. I also bore witness to a number of incidents in which certain Black students were vilified, singled out, and even expelled for behaviour that some of their white peers also exhibited but seemingly got away with. I can recount a particular case in one of my classes where a Black male student retaliated to the action of a white female student and this resulted in his isolation and subsequent expulsion, despite the fact that the white student caused the incident. In this case, the white student weaponised her crocodile tears and played the victim to garner sympathy while the Black student in question was not granted any such luxury. I do also recall hearing stories from friends and peers about a particular male member of staﬀ who often made racist remarks in his classes, some were general while others actually mentioned students in the class which, of course, made them extremely uncomfortable and embarrassed. This same teacher even opted to wear a piece of clothing on a school trip that bore a particular well-known slogan that is a symbol of xenophobia and hate. The incidents that I have recounted here are not isolated. Racism is something sewn into the fabric of Britain and it's the education system and Trinity is in no way exempt from this. The Vision that we sat in the assembly hall and recited at the beginning of every term talks of a "happy and harmonious" school community and a number of other values that are great in theory but are not the reality for so many ethnic minority students. The fact is that a lot of staﬀ members simply do not abide by this Vision and that white students are often not held to the same standards as their white counterparts. I would be lying if I said that my time at Trinity was not enjoyable but I also cannot deny the fact that the school has an issue with the way in which ethnic minority students are treated. ANON - CLASS OF 2020 A teacher asked Asians if they had coronavirus, the same teacher also repeatedly used the “N- word”.