Lasair Dhearg has sent correspondence to every school and education facility in the North about a British policing strategy which it says is “aimed at grabbing the hearts and minds of our young people”.
A total of 1,136 individual pieces of correspondence have been sent to education facilities across the Six Counties by the republican community activist group.
Lasair Dhearg chairperson Pól Torbóid said they are seeking support for keeping schools as neutral environments as the school year begins.
“This is in relation to PSNI personnel deliberately attending school, community and youth spaces as part of ongoing public relations exercises designed to win the hearts and minds of communities across the Six Counties,” he said.
“We are seeking their commitment with this in the interest of good community relations and child protection.”
The public relations events organised by British forces at Irish schools include the use of riot shields, jeeps, attack dogs and the showcasing of lethal, life-taking weapons, such as baton round guns, Glock pistols and automatic assault rifles.
“With the PSNI believed to be holding a stockpile in excess of 50,000 plastic bullets at any one time, and with the force, incorporating the RUC, being responsible for the killing of seventeen people, including seven children, as a result of the use of plastic bullets, this is not an image, we are sure, that any educational establishment would like to be attached to,” Mr Torbóid said.
“In total, it is estimated that the PSNI’s predecessor, along with the British Army, were responsible for the deaths of 48 children through the use of arms similar to those that they are displaying today in schools. This is taking place in the very communities within which these kids were gunned down and killed.-
“Earlier this year the Children’s Commissioner expressed concern about the PSNI’s use of child informants, saying that it is ‘never appropriate for any child to be placed at risk in this manner’. It is therefore essential that we have safeguards in place to ensure that our young people are not exposed to this force and its sinister activities.”
“The PSNI have also been complicit in state collusion and cover ups, most recently in the case of young Noah Donohoe.
“So, to all education facilities across the Six Counties, we say, before you allow our children’s education to be used as part of this PR exercise, allowing this heavily armed force onto school premises for photographs with our children, you should consider the following; the history of the local area and public opinion; the risk involved and whether or not a risk assessment has taken place that takes into consideration armed gunmen being on the premises; the relevance to the educational curriculum; conflict related trauma; the distribution and receipt of parental consent; and the ongoing use of child informants.
“For too long now our children have been used as pawns in a political public relations exercise endorsed by the state. Let’s leave the PSNI at the school gate and allow our children an education free from the risks involved in having armed gunmen in their classrooms.”