Josh Adusei is a young Black man committed to social justice, and a former PE teacher at Harris Academy Tottenham. His life experiences and family background have given him a deep-rooted sense of what is just, cementing his uncompromised defence against injustices. Josh is passionate about education and proud to be a teacher – he joined the profession to make a difference to the lives of young people who he could relate and provide guidance to. He knows first hand the systemic biases and barriers that are placed in the way of Black and Global Majority students - in Josh’s words “it wasn’t that long ago that I was in their shoes”. Josh is the example of exactly the kind of teacher our young people desperately need and deserve.
In early 2021 during Josh’s second year of teaching, he noticed a drastic increase in the exclusions of Black students, which coincided with the implementation of a new ‘zero-tolerance’ behaviour policy. It was clear that this policy was disproportionately affecting Black and racially marginalised students, and students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). With many of Josh’s colleagues leaving the school and the looming threat of redundancy for those who remained, collective action was not something they felt safe to explore. Josh made the courageous decision to challenge these problems directly and called publicly for the principal's resignation via an online petition. On the same day the petition was published, (https://www.change.org/p/harris-academy-resignation-of-dr), Josh was suspended then swiftly fired from his job.
Josh was met with the same punishment as many of his Black students: a brutal exclusion and an attempted silencing and tarnishing of his reputation in a bid to punish him for his actions and make him and his deeply worrying and valid concerns disappear. We cannot standby and continue to allow institutional racism to ruin the lives of our young Black people and Black educators. An injury to one is an injury to all. We must stand together and demand the healthy, safe, accessible and Anti-Racist Education we deserve - education that is fit for purpose for all young people.
Before his exclusion, Josh was a lower-paid teacher and since his unjust suspension and consequential sacking he has been without pay for 8 months, which is causing further undue suffering and stress. Regardless, he is committed to continuing this fight, for himself and the many others facing similar experiences. Josh requested an appeal and still hasn't had a response from the school. In spite of all this difficulty, Josh has started a CIC (Community Interest Company) called 1FM - One Family Movement @1FM_1FM. The project's objective is to support young people in schools both mentally and physically with education, creativity, sports and music. Josh refuses to let his negative experience deter him from supporting young people to thrive. We must affirm our support for Josh; helping him to recover lost funds, fight his case, and build his CIC. Please show your solidarity by donating whatever you can and share and amplify the voice of this campaign to draw attention to the example he has set and show our support and thanks for his courageous actions.