Family & Education

Neymar challenge prank gets Hasmonean Primary School boys banned from parliament trip

One mother says the punishment is 'totally disproportionate'


While feigning injury on the football pitch would normally earn offenders a booking, one Jewish school has responded by excluding pupils from a trip to Parliament.

Ten of the 14 boys in year six at Hasmonean Primary School in Hendon, North West London, angered their teachers when they did the “Neymar Challenge” during their sports day on Tuesday.

The internet meme has gone viral during the World Cup. It involves participants rolling on the floor in feigned agony to mock Neymar, the Brazilian superstar who has become infamous for his on-field theatrics.

Daniel Gastwirth, Hasmomean’s deputy headteacher, wrote to the boys’ parents to inform them of their sons’ “extremely dangerous, atrocious behaviour”, accusing them of committing a Chillul Hashem — desecration of God’s name.

Mr Gastwirth wrote on Tuesday: “I have discussed this with headteacher Dr Alan Shaw, who is appalled and has decided that the boys concerned cannot be trusted to behave properly in the Houses of Parliament or on public transport.

“They are therefore banned from participating in this outing tomorrow.

“They are expected to come to school at 8.40am as normal and will have alternative lessons. We hope to see exemplary behaviour from your son during the remaining two weeks of term.”

The school had planned for the boys to take part in a guided tour of Parliament on Wednesday.

One mother told the JC she felt the punishment was an overreaction, and “totally disproportionate” – especially given the boys, aged 10 and 11, had already been excluded from the remainder of sports day after the incident.

She added: “They’ve made their decision but I feel quite miffed. It’s not like this was a fun trip to the zoo or whatever. It was supposed to be an educational trip, so it feels like a missed opportunity.

“They’ve just finished their Sats exams, and I think they were just having a bit of fun.

“They had seen what was going on at other schools up and down the country, regardless of religion or culture. It’s ironic, in a sense, because this meme, and the World Cup, has united all these different people.”

Other parents reacted angrily to the school’s decision in WhatsApp messages seen by the JC, with some branding it “excessive and extreme”.

One said: “It’s really sad for them to end primary school with such a harsh punishment.”

Another added: “I have always been very respectful when it comes to school decisions but right now, in this case, I am furious as this is completely disproportionate.”

The four boys who chose not to participate in the prank were allowed to go to Parliament along with 15 girls of the year six class.

Hasmonean Primary School refused to comment.

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