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Pins and Prejudice: Mount Carmel’s Unequal Stance on the Palestine Badge

Mount Carmel Roman Catholic High School in Accrington is a coeducational Roman Catholic secondary school. Mount Carmel boasts of being “A family of faith and learning”, and is jointly administered by the Lancashire County Council and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Salford.

When the war in Ukraine ignited last year, it was reported to us that the school allowed its students to wear Ukrainian badges, showing solidarity with the people affected by the conflict. This act of support was seen as a humanitarian gesture by many, promoting unity and empathy among the students.

However, allegedly, the waters were muddied when the school’s leadership took a different stance on Palestinian badges. A concerned sister reached out to us saying how students wishing to show their solidarity with the Palestinian cause were met with resistance. The school, allegedly, banned the wearing of these badges, stating that they wanted to steer clear of political involvement.

The decision has raised eyebrows and generated a considerable amount of discussion among parents, students, and the larger community. Critics argue that the school’s inconsistent stance sends a mixed message, especially since both badges relate to political issues. The question on many people’s minds is: Why are Ukrainian badges seen as acceptable, but Palestinian ones are not?

The sister claimed that this stance was affirmed by the school’s headteacher, Xavier Bowers, and an assistant headteacher, K Georgy. Their rhetoric centred on the belief that the school should not be involved in political matters. Yet, the approval of one badge and the disapproval of another has inadvertently plunged the school into the very political debate they sought to avoid.

Many believe that educational institutions like Mount Carmel Roman Catholic High School hold a duty to encourage open dialogue among students. By supporting one cause while restricting another, they risk conveying a selective approach to global issues. Such decisions underscore the importance of thoughtful consistency in school policies.