Why did the head teacher of a UK primary school threaten to report a Muslim parent to counter-terrorism authorities? I’ve asked the school for comment [Updated: Bevington Primary School has denied my request for comment – more after the jump]
Via the pro-civil liberties Coolness of Hind blog last month, the parent (name redacted) received a threatening letter from the head teacher of a London primary school after he requested that his child be removed from Christmas assembly.
The December 12, 2016 letter, via the Coolness of Hind blog (source)
As seen above, the letter claims the parent had “expressed views that do not match the vision and values of the school,” and that unless he changed his “tone” when speaking to members of staff, it would “have no other alternative but to refer the matter to the authorities.”
From the logo on the letterhead, it appears that the letter is likely from Bevington Primary School, a multi-cultural school located in Ladbroke Grove, London.
I have e-mailed the school to confirm whether or not it sent the letter; if so, whether it has reported the parent to authorities; and to ask about the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, under which parents have the right to withdraw their children from religious education lessons as well as acts of collective worship at all schools.
Screenshot from website of Bevington Primary School (source)
Under the UK government’s controversial Prevent strategy, schools are legally required to “protect children from the risk of radicalisation” and from “the poisonous and pernicious influence of extremist ideas that are used to legitimise terrorism.”
The strategy has been strongly criticised by academics, students’ groups and free speech organisations as a threat to academic and religious freedoms.
According to recent figures, over 3,700 children (under the age of 18) were referred to authorities through Prevent in 2015-16.
Update, 12/01/17: Bevington Primary School today responded to my query, saying it is “unable to comment on individual cases” and that the matter “is confidential.”
See also: “The Tyranny of Values,” my October 23 item re: Downing Street’s unattributed use of data from “right-wing think tank” the Henry Jackson Society to “name and shame” universities that host “extremist” speakers.