The headteacher of the school where Child Q was unjustly strip-searched by police has stepped down due to ill health, the school has announced.
The east London secondary school made the announcement in a letter to parents at the start of the new term, telling them that a replacement head had already been appointed.
There was a national outcry last month when it emerged that the 15-year-old girl had been strip-searched by Metropolitan police officers at her school after a false accusation that she possessed cannabis. No cannabis was found.
Philip Glanville, the mayor of Hackney, had earlier called for the headteacher to resign, saying it was clear that “school leadership has lost the confidence of the school, myself and the community”.
The 15-year-old black girl was subjected to the traumatic strip search by police officers, with no other adults present and without her parents’ consent, in December 2020. But the event was only made public last month after the publication of a safeguarding report initiated by Hackney Council.
The report found that her treatment was unjustified and that racism was “likely” to have been a factor. The Met said the actions of its officers were “regrettable” and “should never have happened”.
The school’s governors also apologised, saying that “while the school was not aware that a strip search was taking place, we wholly accept that the child should not have been left in the situation that she was”.
The governors also said “changes were made immediately after the incident and continued to be made”, including to the makeup and leadership of the governing board.
The student was subjected to the search after being wrongly accused of possessing cannabis. The review found that she had been traumatised and required therapy after having had to expose intimate body parts during the search, which was conducted in the knowledge she was menstruating. Her parents were not informed by the school or by the officers.
Legal proceedings on behalf of Child Q have been launched against the school and the Met. Her mother said the family also hoped an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation would mean the officers involved were “individually held to account and face real consequences for what they have done”.
The IOPC has said a report on the student’s ordeal is being finished.