War veterans from all over the world have condemned a primary school in Southend On Sea after their headteacher announced that children would not be allowed to wear poppies leading up to Rememberance Sunday.
Dr Opie Ummerton, head in charge of Southchurch Woods Primary Academy, wrote to all parents to let them know that the traditional wearing of poppies was ‘no longer appropriate at a time when the school has pupils from a wide variety of religious and cultural backgrounds.’
Speaking EXCLUSIVELY to Southend News Network, Dr Ummerton confirmed that pupils would instead be encouraged to purchase special ‘Peace Puppy’ badges – the specially-commissioned collection will include six different characters designed to promote diversity, inclusion and acceptance.
He said: ‘As I have made clear to our parents, poppies in 2017 have the potential to offend more people than they please, and this is a situation that we can no longer allow in school.’
‘Therefore, I am delighted to announce that we will be the first educational establishment in the UK to introduce Peace Puppy badges.’
‘There will be six designs costing £3.50 each, and all profits will be forwarded to the South Essex Social and Community Cohesion Project.’
‘This is a fantastic cause that organises a number of special events every month, including reception picnics for refugees, communal art spaces, poetry evenings and similar initiatives.’
‘Four of the puppy designs are currently a closely-guarded secret, but I am able to introduce you all to Freedom Fido and Hope Hound.’
‘Freedom Fido is a plucky pup who wears a number of different items of religious clothing to show that it is perfectly OK to express your religious and cultural background in public.’
‘Hope Hound has a far simpler message. He is all about representing a better future for the millions of oppressed and persecuted people around the world who are having to put up with the most dreadful conditions in their daily lives.’
‘Imagine the people undergoing the most perilous of journeys in search of a better life or the young man or woman who is fighting a monumental battle to be accepted by his family, friends and society – this is what Hope Hound is all about.’
‘Each of the six designs will be available from mid-October for £3.50 each, and parents will be able to buy the full set for just £20.00 per child.’
We asked Dr Ummerton if he was concerned about any possible backlash that would be caused by banning the sale and wearing of poppies in school.
He said: ‘My position is very clear on this. With poppies, our research showed that for every person you please, a further three people are offended for a variety of reasons. How can this ever be acceptable in modern Britain?’