Fake News: School Did NOT Ban England Flags Ahead Of The World Cup For Safety Reasons

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: School Did NOT Ban England Flags Ahead Of The World Cup For Safety Reasons

Did a school in Westcliff On Sea ban English flags and team shirts ahead of the World Cup in Russia? No, that's not true: the school doesn't exist and the story was made up by a satire website. No need to get angry or upset, the story is not real and did not happen.

The story appeared in an article published by the Southend News Network on June 7, 2018 titled "School BANS ENGLAND FLAGS ahead of the World Cup for 'safety reasons'" (archived here) which opened:

Parents with children at Perry Neil Primary School in Westcliff On Sea have been describing their ANGER to Southend News Network after the headteacher sent an email saying that children have been BANNED from bringing England flags into school during the World Cup.

The ban has also been extended to England shirts ahead of the World Cup in Russia.

According to the lengthy message that was sent out, the 'barmy' decision has been made over fears that the crosses of St George could lead to complaints from some parents.

We asked headteacher Dr Colin Throop to explain his reasons for the 'over the top' banning of England flags and anything else depicting the cross of St George.

Excitable social media users who only saw this summary might have gotten angry or upset about it:

School BANS ENGLAND FLAGS ahead of the World Cup for 'safety reasons'

Parents with children at Perry Neil Primary School in Westcliff On Sea have been describing their ANGER to Southend News Network after the headteacher sent an email saying that children have been BANNED from bringing England flags into school during the World Cup. The ban has also been extended to England shirts ahead of the ...

But there is no "Perry Neil Primary School" in Westcliff On Sea. The closest thing we could find was a trucking company in Southend that has somebody by the name "Perry Neil" listed as a director. And Colin Throop is a roof repair company in Leicester.

The Southend News Network is a satirical site pretending to be a news organisation by the English coast in Southend. They have a disclaimer on their about page that reads (in part):

Southend News Network was originally started in October 2015 with no real aims or objectives in mind other than to add a satirical/spoof-like touch to issues that people are passionate about in Southend On Sea. Above all else, SNN is all about having the occasional 'dig' at the powers that be, as well a slightly bigger and more frequent 'dig' at certain elements of local media!

Several of their stories have been mistaken for real news in the past and the site was recognized by the local authorities as an "official news outlet".

We wrote about southendnewsnetwork.net before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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