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Last Updated: Monday, 24 January, 2005, 13:54 GMT
Pupils 'upset' over deportation
Pupils are so upset by the imminent deportation of an asylum seeker they are being offered counselling, according to a head teacher.

Lorin Sulaiman has excelled at Mayfield school, Portsmouth, since arriving from Syria a year ago, her teachers say.

But the Home Office has rejected appeals for the 15-year-old and her sister and mother to remain in Britain.

Lorin has told a teacher she will be killed if she is deported and says "these are the last days of my life".

I think it's only when people are touched on an individual level, that they begin to challenge their beliefs
Head teacher Derek Trimmer

The Home Office has refused to comment on Lorin's situation saying it does not comment on individual cases.

Head teacher Derek Trimmer said: "This has been a difficult issue for everyone - pupils and staff.

"In this situation we need to support people and counselling is one of the options we're using."

He said even students who were against asylum seekers needed help because of their conflicting emotions.

"I think it's only when people are touched on an individual level, that they begin to challenge their beliefs and even people who held opposing views need support to understand what is happening," said Mr Trimmer.

'Desperate plea'

Lorin and her family arrived in Britain in 2002 after escaping from Syria following the disappearance of her father.

He was an active member of a political party which campaigns for Kurdish human rights and full citizenship.

A letter Lorin sent to a teacher while at an asylum detention centre has heightened fears among staff and pupils at Mayfield.

The letter was a "desperate plea for help" said Mr Trimmer.

In it she said she believed she would be killed when she returned to Syria.

Now pupils are planning a protest march in Portsmouth city centre in support of Lorin.

Later this week, the Home Office is expected to tell the school when Lorin will be deported.

Blair to set out new asylum plans
29 Dec 04 |  Politics

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