Jessie J's tales of gun crime at school are 'just wrong', according to headteacher

Singer's claims that knife crime, shootings and gang violence took place while at school in Dagenham have been challenged
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The headteacher of Jessie J’s secondary school in Dagenham, east London, has criticised the singer for claiming she faced gun crime as a pupil.

The “Price Tag” singer told Time Out magazine earlier this week: “I feel a duty to try to combat gun and knife crime and racial attacks because they happened at my school.

"There was a lot of gang crime — gun and knife crime and racial attacks. I don’t want to talk about gangs who may know where I am, but the things I witnessed at a young age were horrific.”

But Andy Rehling, headteacher of Mayfield School, Jessie J’s former secondary school, said there had been no knife crime, shootings or gang violence in all the time he had been at the school.

He said: “I have been headteacher here for 11 years and I simply don’t recognise the picture she’s painted of the school then or since, and neither do staff. I really don’t know where she’s coming from.”

Rehling, who joined the staff three years after the singer started there, said: “To say it is an exaggeration would be an understatement. It is just wrong.

The singer, then known as Jessie Cornish, first attended Mayfield School in 1999 when she was 11, before accepting a place at the Brit School in Croydon aged 16.

She graduated from the Brit School in 2006 in the same year as singers Adele and Leona Lewis. She had her first hit in 2010 with “Do It Like A Dude”.