Thousands of people have signed a petition in support of a dinner lady who was suspended for going on a march organised by the ex English Defence League leader.
More than 20,000 people put their name to far right extremist Tommy Robinson’s petition after Moor Nook Primary School suspended mum of five Rachel Booth after footage emerged of her attending a UK Against Hate rally in Manchester.
The 27-year-old received a letter from her employer barring her from visiting or contacting anyone from the school pending an investigation.
The mum, who has three children at Moor Nook, thought this meant she could not pick them from school, a point the headteacher has since clarified.
The march was held on June 11 in the wake of the Manchester bomb attack and Rachel says she went as a “heartbroken” mother and not an EDL supporter.
“I’m nothing to do with the EDL, I just wanted to support the Lancashire families who lost children in the bombing.
“I’m not racist – my husband and his family are mixed race. I’m being treated worse than a paedophile because I’ve been told I can’t go anywhere near the school.”
The March Against Islamic Hate was organised by the founder and former EDL leader Tommy Robinson via the UK Against Hate Facebook page.
Mr Robinson has several criminal convictions including being convicted of common assault after headbutting a fellow EDL member at a rally in Blackburn in 2011.
Bottles, smoke canisters and beer cans were thrown as nearly 400 police officers made eight arrests for public order offences at the march which attracted hundreds of people.
And after visiting Rachel at her home in Moor Nook, Mr Robinson said: “I can’t believe it to be honest. It’s outrageous and unacceptable how the school have treated her.
“Rachel is just your average mum and it’s not right. The march was against hate and terrorism and included people from all different faiths and backgrounds. It was nothing to do with the EDL.”
Paul Jenkins, North West regional organiser for Unite Against Fascism, who at the march said: “I was there in June but in the opposition to Tommy’s march. There were racist chants, pigs’ heads held up and violence towards anti-racist groups. Tommy has a record of using terrorism incidents to push his islamophobic agenda.”
Mr Robinson has started a petition which has reached more than 20,000 signatures and the 34-year-old plans to hand it to the school’s headteacher Suzanne Clough.
The letter she received on June 12 said Rachel had been suspended with full pay pending an investigation. It describes taking part in the rally, which was captured on social media, as “potentially gross misconduct”.
Suzanne Clough, Headteacher at Moor Nook Primary School, said: “I can confirm that a member of staff has been suspended, pending further enquiries.
“There are a number of inaccurate statements being made and one which is important to clarify is that the member of staff is able to attend school in their capacity as a parent. It would not be proper for me to comment further.”
Rachel is meeting school bosses this morning.
“I don’t feel like I’ve done anything wrong,” she said.