Parents and pupils at a school in Coventry, England, have expressed concern after a “child migrant” who “looks 40” was placed in a class with underage teenagers.
“Pupils were coming home saying there’s a man in our class, some were even saying they reckoned he could be aged up to 40,” one worried parent told the Metro.
Pictures of the migrant published by The Sun have been partially obscured for legal reasons, but show a significant amount of balding. An unaltered version of one of the published images circulating on social media also show bags under the pictured individual’s eyes and deep lines around his mouth.
The unnamed school do not seem to be concerned by the possible safeguarding issue, however, and have instead written to parents instructing them not the share images of the migrant online.
They also hauled in the mother of one schoolgirl who had shared images of the migrant on Snapchat, likening it to “bullying”.
Asylum seeker pupil who 'looks 40 and has thinning hair' pictured after joining Coventry school as 15-year-old https://t.co/ZSsmYgRyXo
— The Sun (@TheSun) October 23, 2020
“I said, ‘You can’t really blame the children [for talking about it] – he looks about 40’,” the mother told The Sun.
“They sort of nodded and said, ‘Yes — we did have concerns but we’ve been told that he is in fact Year 11 age’.
“I just felt a bit annoyed that the school was trying to shut down my daughter,” she explained.
“I said, ‘I’m all for encouraging free speech and I don’t agree that it was bullying as such.’
“I’ve always encouraged my daughter to question things that don’t seem right.
“I got the impression that they were just annoyed that it had caused them hassle and that they had to spend time reassuring parents.
“The school has said it’s inappropriate for us to question his age.
“There’s absolutely no way this boy looks 15. He looks about 40 to me.”
The migrant, who is understood to have arrived in Britain on his own with no documentation, supposedly from Gambia, has been placed in Year 11 class, previously known as fifth form, or tenth grade in the United States. Pupils typically begin Year 11 at age 15.
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) October 19, 2016
The Head of Education Entitlement at Coventry City Council, Sarah Mills, wrote an open letter to parents over the growing furore, informing them that “If there are concerns or doubts regarding a pupil’s age at the time of application, schools and local authorities are able to ask for further evidence in the form of birth certificates and passports” — but added: “However, please note, on some rare occasions if pupils arrive as asylum seekers and alone, i.e. without parents, these may not always be available.”
“Reading between the lines of the letter, I read it that they had not managed to obtain documentation,” commented one parent.
“That’s the way I read it and I think a lot of parents did the same. It doesn’t really clarify anything at all.
“He’s got a receding hairline for God’s sake,” she added in exasperation.
Migrants lying about their age is far from unknown in Britain, with a similar case involving images of a migrant who was supposedly 15-years-old being shared by pupils who believed he was a “30-year-old man” leading to an investigation which revealed that he was indeed an adult. Another migrant who had been placed in Year 7 — with 11 and 12-year-olds — was removed from the same school.
Kent County Council subsequently revealed that “around 25 per cent” of supposed child migrants who cross the Channel in boats, specifically, turn out to be 18 or over — with the true figure likely being higher, as it is British policy not to challenge migrants on their age unless they appear to be over 25.
This previously led to a situation in 2016 where the so-called Dubs amendment scheme to take in migrants from Calais, France, who had been compared to the Kindertransport children of the 1930s and ’40s, completely unravelled, with the vast majority of those arriving having the appearance of young or not so young men, including an extremely weathered individual in a blue sweater who became briefly notorious.
Tests Reveal 'Child Migrant', 17, Is Actually 47 Years Old https://t.co/7JsW7MbwPT
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 6, 2019
Insufficient action to verify the true age of supposed child migrants has had dire consequences on multiple occasions across Europe.
Hussein Khavari, who claimed to be 17 when he arrived in Germany, went on to rape and drown the daughter of an EU official. He was later revealed to be an adult, with his father suggesting he was in his thirties.
Youssaf Khaliif Nuur, placed in accommodation for underage teens in Sweden, was revealed to be an adult after stabbing a female staff member to death.
French authorities busted an entire network of criminals providing fake documentation to migrants from the Ivory Coast in Africa purporting to prove they were underage, after a 17-year-old in Hérault was found to be 32.
Syrian Migrant Accused of Gang Rape To Be Tried As Underage Despite Being 22-Years-Old https://t.co/h6NHCwWd8Q
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 21, 2019