Five arrested over 'racially aggravated attack' on black girl outside school

Five people have been arrested after a teenage girl was the victim of a ‘racially aggravated attack’ outside a Surrey school.

Police were called to reports of an assault at Thomas Knyvett College in Ashford on Monday at 2.30pm, when they discovered an injured girl.

Footage shared online shows the black schoolgirl being punched and kicked and having her braids pulled out, while onlookers shouted: ‘Kick her in the face.’

Three girls aged 10, 11 and 16 were detained, as well as a 39-year-old woman and a 43-year-old man.

A sixth suspect, a 15-year-old girl, is also wanted by police over the incident, but remains at large.

Thousands have now signed a petition in protest, while dozens attended a demonstration at the college yesterday, forcing it to temporarily close.

A Surrey Police spokesperson said: ‘We are aware that this incident will have caused concern among students, parents, and staff at Thomas Knyvett College, as well as the wider community.

‘We would like to reassure you that an investigation is underway, five arrests have been made in connection with this incident, and we are working closely with Thomas Knyvett College as we investigate this matter.

‘We are also aware that several videos of this distressing incident are circulating on social media. We ask that you do not share any videos or images of this incident, but to submit them via the link below so they can be considered as evidence in this investigation.’

In a statement on its website, the school said it closed early on Wednesday ‘in the interests of safety of all concerned’.

‘Uppermost in our thoughts has been the welfare and care of the victim, but The Howard Partnership Trust, of which Thomas Knyvett College is a part, is aware this incident has caused tension among the wider community,’ school bosses wrote.

‘We are taking this situation extremely seriously and are working with all agencies involved.

‘We need to ask for calm and patience while vital work is undertaken to establish the facts.’

Inspector Maxine Cilia, said: ‘The video footage of this incident is shocking, and we appreciate the concern it will have caused the wider community.

‘Every school child should feel safe as they move through the local community, and we will not tolerate this level of violence.

‘We are providing specialist support to the victim who has now returned home after being treated for the injuries she sustained in this distressing assault.’

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