Missing British schoolgirls not radicalised at school says principle

Principle of the school attended by three missing British schoolgirls believed to be heading to Syria says they were not radicalised at the academy.

GATWICK, ENGLAND, UK (POLICE HANDOUT) – The principle of the east London school attended by three teenage girls believed to have travelled to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) said on Monday (February 23) that they were not radicalised on school premises.

“Students are unable to access Twitter or Facebook on academy computers. With such measures in place, police have advised us that there is no evidence that radicalisation of the missing students took place at the academy,” said Mark Keary, Principle of Bethnal Green Academy.

The three friends left their east London homes on Tuesday (February 17) and travelled to Gatwick airport where they caught a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul without telling their families.

The girls were friends with a fourth teenage girl from the same school who police believe is already in Syria, having travelled to Turkey in December

Parents of school pupils were sent a letter last Friday telling them about the disappearance of Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-old Amira Abase.

Keary said staff and students were being supported and he appealed for anyone with knowledge of potential radicalisation of youngsters to come forward.

He said the school was well aware of the dangers of radicalisation and tackled it head on.

“A core aspect of our ethos is to promote the British values of democracy, tolerance and respect, particularly respect for other cultures. And this is taught through a wide variety of curriculum topics and learning programmes.”

Police were patrolling around the school in recent days.

In Turkey, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said British and Turkish authorities were working together to try to find out where the girls are.