Pupils decorate school gates with rainbow hearts after headteacher suffers homophobic abuse

Miles Wallis-Clarke shared how he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the students of the Newcastle school.

Cardboard rainbow hearts made by pupils hanging on a school railing

When Headteacher Miles Wallis-Clarke was the target of homophobic graffiti, little did he know there was soon to be a heartwarming show of support from the pupils of his school.

Wallis-Clarke has always been upfront about his sexuality. He told Chronicle Live “I am a gay man, I make no secret of that at school and I’m very open and I talk about it.” He was upset to find graffiti outside the gates of Hotspur Primary School in Heaton, Newcastle, directly targeting him.

“There was quite a bit of graffiti outside the school which was very personal about me and homophobic. It had been put there so parents and students would see…I have been at the school for 15 years and I have never ever had anything like that.” 

Wallis-Clarke shared the incident in an online school bulletin, adding “How am I feeling? A little damaged to be honest. Sometimes angry and then quite sad.”

On returning to the school on Monday, the headteacher was touched to see pupils had decorated the four entrance gates of Hotspur with handmade rainbow hearts and flags.

“It was just lovely,” he shared. “I always stand outside in the morning and I was given cards and letters, and people saying ‘what can we do to help’, and it was just incredible.”

He continued, “We always do a lot of work on equality and diversity and we know our children are going to live in a diverse society. Talking about that is really important and we are looking at what we can do to reinforce that we don’t accept homophobia.

“Our children are really well adjusted and able to say; ‘That’s not right’.”

The show of support is similar to events in Manchester where neighbours decorated their homes with rainbow flags to support a young man who was subjected to homophobic abuse.

The Northumbria police are investigating the graffiti incident as a hate crime. They appealed for witnesses and released the statement: “Nobody should be victimised for being who they are and we are taking this incident very seriously – and will take robust action against those responsible.”

© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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