Kent

Margate school tackles post-Brexit racism as tensions grow

David Cameron
Image caption David Cameron has called for hate crime to be stamped out after reports of post-referendum racism

A Margate secondary school has appealed for calm amid fears of growing racist tension after Britain voted to leave the EU.

Hartsdown Academy has pupils from 30 countries, with a third speaking English as a second language.

Head teacher Andy Somers said "ugly things" had been said to students by people in the Kent town.

He said the vote to leave the EU and political propaganda had led people to think racism had become acceptable.

Mr Somers said the school saw racist incidents 10 years ago but built a community by celebrating culture, talking about ethos and looking at how people lived together.

The referendum tipped that on its head, he added.

Image copyright Hartsdown Academy
Image caption The school is urging people to keep calm

He said: "Thursday and Friday were very difficult days. I had groups of students feeling sick and scared and, on Friday, feeling very much not welcome.

"We also had some ugly things said to students over the weekend by people in the community who seemed to think that, because of the vote ... that it's OK to be racist."

He added: "We need to have calm and we need students to understand that nothing is going to happen."

Excrement through letter box

Other incidents across Kent have included reports of offensive social media posts, verbal abuse directed at a taxi driver and a voter shouted at in a polling station.

In Medway, a man tweeted excrement was put through his letter box when he flew a Belgian flag from his house.

Kent Police said it remained committed to stamping out all crime motivated by hate and prejudice.

Image caption In Medway, a man tweeted excrement was put through his letter box when he flew a Belgian flag from his house

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