Yorkshire Teacher Who Showed Prophet Muhammad Cartoon To School Children Reinstated
A Yorkshire teacher who was suspended after showing schoolchildren a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad has been reinstated.
It comes after online support for a Religious Studies teacher at Batley Grammar school, who showed year-nine students a Charlie Hebdo cartoon said to mock the Muslim prophet. He was suspended pending an investigation, with protesters describing his actions as ‘unacceptable’ and ‘Islamophobic’. The teacher was also placed under police protection.
It has since found the staff member didn’t mean to cause any offence during the lesson, instead suggesting the school pursue ‘additional management guidance and training’ to prevent any future incidents.
As reported by The Independent, The Batley Multi Academy Trust said it ‘deeply regrets the distress’ that came from the west Yorkshire school, with promises of ‘immediate’ changes.
In Islam, depictions of the prophet are considered to be deeply offensive. Dr. Shazad Amin, deputy chair of Muslim Engagement and Development, earlier said there’s no problem with teachers exploring blasphemy, but the caricature in this instance ‘furthered stereotypes and anti-Islamic tropes’.
While the teacher ‘genuinely believed that using the image had an educational purpose and benefit’, the trust also said it won’t be ‘necessary for staff to use the material in question to deliver the learning outcomes on the subject of blasphemy’ going forward.
A spokeswoman for the trust said, ‘The findings are clear, that the teaching staff involved did not use the resource with the intention of causing offence, and that the topics covered by the lesson could have been effectively addressed in other ways.’
She added, ‘In the light of those conclusions, the suspensions put in place while the investigation was under way will now be lifted.’
As per BBC News, Kim Leadbeater, a Labour candidate for Batley and Spen, said it was ‘completely unacceptable that a teacher was forced into hiding and his family were put at risk… the report makes clear that while mistakes were made, this was not done out of any malice or ill-intent’.
‘Staff should now be supported to get on with the important job of helping all their pupils get the best education possible,’ she added.
While ‘acknowledging and welcoming the lessons learnt’, the Batley Parents and Community Partnership said were ‘disappointed at the lack of clarity, transparency and rationale behind some of the findings’, taking issue with the report failing ‘to address how it is possible that teachers were unaware of the offence it would cause’.
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