Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville. Photograph: Hackney Council

Hackney’s mayor has called for the resignation of the headteacher at the school where a Black teenage girl was strip-searched by police.

Philip Glanville has written to the governing body of the unnamed school to call for a “new start” for the school.

He said this would allow the community “to heal from this traumatic experience” and recognise the impact on the 15-year-old girl, who is known as Child Q to protect her identity.

It comes after hundreds of people held protests at Hackney Town Hall and outside Stoke Newington police station last weekend in support of the teenager and to express their trauma and anger at what happened.

MPs have also raised their concerns in Parliament.

Child Q was strip-searched at her school after staff called police.

Officers searched her bag, blazer and scarf because they thought they smelt cannabis, they told a child safeguarding review. They found nothing during the search.

The review said there was no evidence that staff knew that the police planned to strip-search the girl. However, it said staff should have been “more challenging to the police” to find out what they planned to do.

It said: “School staff had an insufficient focus on the safeguarding needs of Child Q when responding to concerns about suspected drug use.”

The mayor said he had heard “troubling reports” from staff, families and young people who are disturbed by what happened and are “eager for change”.

The teenager, who was having her period, was taken out of an exam in December 2020 and strip-searched.

The school asked the Safer Schools Police Officer for advice because restrictions arising from Covid-19 meant this officer was not on site. He recommended that the school call 101 and ask for a female officer to attend.   

In response to the review, the school said: “This is the hardest thing that we’ve had to go through and for anyone to think that the school might be complicit is very stressful and difficult to deal with.” 

Mayor Glanville and Hackney’s deputy mayor Anntoinette Bramble, who is the cabinet member responsible for education, young people and children’s social care, have asked the school for “assurance on the actions that have been taken in response to this horrific incident”.

They added: “We don’t say this lightly, but we feel we’ve no choice but to express our lack of confidence in the current leadership of the school and to ask that the headteacher should stand down and allow that school and its community the new start it needs to heal from this traumatic experience and by doing so also fully recognise the traumatic impact on Child Q and her family.”

He told the Citizen he has not yet heard back from Child Q’s school.

The school has been approached for comment.

Child Q is taking legal action against the Metropilitan Police and the school.

Her lawyer Chanel Dolcy at Bhatt Murphy said: “She seeks to hold both institutions to account including through cast-iron commitments to ensure this never happens again to any other child.”

Speaking through her lawyers, Child Q said: I want to thank the thousands of people across the world of all backgrounds who have offered me support – both publicly and through messages conveyed to my legal team – following everything I’ve been through. I know I am not alone.”

Her mother said: “We expect the school to reflect on the findings of the City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership report and take necessary action against all members of staff involved.”

Florence Cole, from Just for Kids Law, who is also representing Child Q, said: “There is still ongoing correspondence with the school following the initial complaint launched by Child Q and her mother in 2020 in which they seek to hold the school to account and to ensure this never happens again to any other child.

“No child should be subjected to such an ordeal, and it is hoped that the school will reflect and consider the detrimental effects and negative impact that adultification, disproportionate sanctioning and the over-policing of Black children has on their emotional, physical, and mental wellbeing.”

She added: “This is an appalling, shocking case which illustrates wider problems in schools and communities about the treatment of Black children which unfortunately is systemic; and the lack of safeguarding and the failure to recognise the ripple effects of trauma that follows, long after such an ordeal.”