Parents have begun a protest after a teacher displayed cartoons of the founder of Islam.
The cartoon was shown to students at Batley Grammar School on Monday and sparked an immediate pushback from parents. The head teacher, Mr G. C. Kibble, has “unequivocally” apologised for the actions of the teacher in a statement published on the school’s website.
Kibble also said: “We have immediately withdrawn teaching on this part of the course and we are reviewing how we go forward with the support of all the communities represented in our school. It is important for children to learn about faiths and beliefs, but this must be done in and respectful, sensitive way. I am deeply sorry.”
According to the BBC and BBC radio, one parent stated the teaching was “out of order and unacceptable”, and she revealed that she was considering removing her child from the school.
The BBC also heard comments from Abdullah, a member of the local Muslim community, who had this to say: “This is a time when we can’t stay quiet, we need to stand up and let them know, the head teacher, the school and the governing body, that this is not something light. There’s a line you can’t cross.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Education told the BBC: “It is never acceptable to threaten or intimidate teachers.”
The Telegraph also writes that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said the protests were “completely unacceptable” and that teachers are allowed to expose students to issues that are “challenging or controversial”.
Former Chancellor Sajid Javid also tweeted his response today:
In this country we are free to peacefully follow, preach or query any religion or none.
These are hard-won freedoms that must be upheld by all public institutions. Reports of intimidation in Batley set a deeply unsettling and potentially dangerous precedent.
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) March 25, 2021
Mr G. C. Kibble met with a local Imam before announcing the suspension of the teacher. The Telegraph also reports that a senior police source claims the teacher is being given police protection, due to the threats raised at the protest or surrounding the topic.