Secularism, free speech, and anti-Islamism campaigners have blasted the decision of Batley Grammar School to cave in to angry Muslim parents over a lesson that involved a cartoon drawing of Muhammad, with some condemning the alleged suspension of the teacher responsible.
The row has blown up today as national attention has turned to loud protests outside the school grounds, forcing the arrival of police officers to deal with the angry crowd.
A grovelling apology sent to parents, vowing a formal curriculum review, has now drawn backlash with Dr Paul Stott of the Henry Jackson Society saying: “Secondary schools have a duty to introduce pupils to contentious ideas and debates, as part of a process of teaching children how, rather than what, to think. Schools in the UK must not concede policy to angry mobs at the school gates or to so-called community leaders.
“The school’s censorious approach appears to be the exact opposite of the approach in France, where demands to sanitise classroom discussions by Islamist campaigners were resolutely rejected by the government, following the hideous murder of teacher Samuel Paty.”
The humanist group Humanist UK have also said, in response to the alleged suspension of the teacher involved: “We are concerned to hear that a teacher has been suspended over a picture of Muhammad in an RE lesson.
“We don’t know precisely what was depicted in the image in question, but religious blasphemy laws have no place dictating what goes on in the classroom.”
This site reported earlier today how head teacher Gary Kibble had written to outraged parents to assure them that “the resource used in the lesson was completely inappropriate and had the capacity to cause great offence to members of our school community for which we would like to offer a sincere and full apology.”
He also vowed that the school “will undertake a formal review of the RS curriculum to ensure no other resource or statement is inappropriate and take appropriate action as needed.”