The nation has been left reeling by the recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. The Manchester arena attack came as a huge shock to everyone and for a school located close to the city centre, it was even more poignant. But it is the spirit of Manchester in the aftermath of the attack that continues to give us all hope, showing that even in the darkest of times, love and compassion overcome the forces of evil that attempt to divide us.
Education is needed to help in the fight against terrorism to ensure young minds are not radicalised. Here at Our Lady’s the response to the Manchester terror attack is one positive example among hundreds of stories of unity and strength. Miss Collins’ year 8 religious education class used their lesson as a chance to express their feelings about the attack through poetry, with some beautiful work reflecting on the impact of the tragedy. The students were able to release their emotion through the written word and art and also prayed together for everyone caught up in the atrocities.
The national minute’s silence gave our students another opportunity to stand together and show their support for the city in which they attend school and for all those affected by the terrible attack. Forming an M shape for Manchester, they displayed great dignity, showing their respect for humankind. This photo of them standing united against evil was posted on our Facebook page immediately striking a chord with online visitors and attracting messages of support from around the country.
That image has now reached almost 40,000 people – one of thousands of symbols of hope amid the sadness and despair. The Middleton Guardian also shared our message of solidarity with excerpts from year 8 student Leander McPherson’s moving poetic tribute.
The response of our students sends a powerful message that children of all faiths are united reflecting the importance of reinforcing the fundamental human qualities of kindness and understanding from an early age. This is how we teach our young people to grow up to respect the world they live in, celebrating religious and cultural differences rather than allowing them to cause divisions.