6 Sep 2019

The family of 14-year-old Jaden Moodie demand an emergency halt to school exclusions

Social Affairs Editor and Presenter

In a powerful and emotional interview with the family of 14-year-old Jaden Moodie, his sister and aunt tell Channel 4 News they want an emergency halt to school exclusions until authorities can provide an immediate alternative. Too many children like Jaden are left in limbo while they wait for a new place, they say. 14-year-old Jaden Moodie was the youngest victim of stabbing in London when he was knocked off a moped and stabbed to death in east London in January.

Leah Green Moodie, Jaden’s sister, said: “He was excluded with no place to go. You can’t kick a child out of your care with no place to go. You can’t exclude a child and then be like, that’s it done. And not have any provisions in place for that child.”

Tesfa Green, Jaden’s aunt: “We had to take turns making sure someone was at home watching Jaden which has other implications because everyone has got to work, so we were kind of taking shifts to make sure there was always someone supervising Jaden, but the gap between them being kicked out of school and being found other educational provisions is too big. Unless they can leave that school on Friday and start on Monday in a PRU centre or another School. There should be a cessation on exclusions where the child doesn’t have a place to go.”

Reliving the horror of the night of Jaden’s killing, Leah Green Moodie described the moment she’d heard he had been hurt. “Everything just went black, I just remember running down the road. I just saw flashing lights, blue lights and crowds of people. As a big sister you feel like you have failed because you are supposed to protect him. And I wasn’t there, I tried to get there as fast as I could. I just felt like I didn’t get there fast enough. I remember one of the paramedics coming up to my mum and saying Jaden wants you…he took my mum’s hand and he lead her down and I just remember seeing my mum drop, that’s when I knew he’d gone. I didn’t understand anything or know why that had happened. I didn’t understand.”

Tesfa Green Jaden’s aunt says “can we concentrate on the fact he was 14 and got murdered at half six in the evening, in London, England, those are three major things.” Tesfa believes people have become desensitised: “everyone has become desensitised to the fact another stabbing has happened and another young person has lost their life, how many more have died since Jaden it is always another one, another one. It doesn’t matter what age they are, there is a problem with knife crime in Britain today, that’s what we have got to look at.”

Since his death, the family have set up an organisation to provide safe spaces for children like Jaden. They’ve started the Jaden Moodie Movement and want to reach out to the hardest to reach children. They’re joining up with some established local charities, including Gangs Unite, Sparks to Life and Nature’s Playground, to help vulnerable kids and the hardest to reach including those excluded with nowhere to go.

But it’s the responsibility of the authorities not to exclude schoolchildren like Jaden until they can provide adequate alternative provision that is their main demand. They also call on the government to better fund front line, grassroots services which target the hardest to reach young people:

“The £100 million they gave to police they should match that to grassroots organisations as well because imagine what they could do with that money. These are organisations which work with the children everyday in the community, they’re the ones that need the money. They are the ones working with these kids that need the support.”

“If you work with the community, the community will work with you, and the crime rate will come down, it will.”

Tesfa Jaden’s aunt says: “I would need to make up a new word in the dictionary for just the pain that I feel so I can’t even imagine the pain my sister feels” … “he was a mummy’s boy, they were so close.”

In Jaden’s own words

In unearthed footage of Jaden being interviewed by a youth organisation, he talks about his future ambitions.

“My name is Jaden and when I am older I want to be an entrepreneur when I grow up, I want to start my own clothing range called YP which stands for Young Production and it will try to help people become young entrepreneurs and boost them so that when they’re older they can be businessmen.”

The tragedy is he never got to fulfil this dream and help others.