SCHOOL leaders have launched an investigation after "appalling" racist comments were written on a pupil's shirt at a leaving event.

Year 11 pupils at Clacton County High School were attending the traditional shirt-signing event to mark the end of their GCSE exams on Friday when the incident took place.

But one student wrote racist remarks on the back of a shirt belonging to what is reported to be the year's only black pupil.

Vice principal Chris Taylor said he was "shocked and appalled" by the racist abuse, which happened in the school's Clouds restaurant.

Mr Taylor said: "This happy and lively event was marred this year by the totally unacceptable actions of a student who, without thought of consequence and with total ignorance, wrote racist and hateful remarks on the back of the shirt another student.

"This was brought to my attention by the parent of the victim, who came into school to meet me that day.

"I share the disgust of the family that such a thing has happened, there is no place for racism in our school or our society."

"I am both shocked and appalled that a Clacton County High School student would have acted in such a manner.

"Clacton County High School will not, and does not, tolerate racism or prejudice in any shape or form."

The school says it will pass the matter over to the police when it has identified the suspect.

Mr Taylor added: "On behalf of the entire school community, I offer my sincere apologies to the victim and his family.

"I am disappointed, angry and appalled.

"I also apologise to the rest of year 11, who will feel that such bigoted comments will reflect on them and taint their reputation. We must not forget that there are many truly wonderful students in our school, who are equalIy appalled."