A misconduct case against a North East teacher has been postponed because of police fears over racial tensions
Adam Walker, a member of the British National Party (BNP), is alleged to have posted critical comments against asylum seekers, immigrants and the “promotion” of homosexuality on the party’s website during a lesson. The former teacher at Houghton Kepier Sports College in Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, now faces being struck off the teaching register for unacceptable professional conduct.
A hearing at the General Teaching Council (GTC) offices was due to begin in central Birmingham today but has been adjourned after West Midlands Police raised concerns over “potential public order consequences”. Officers highlighted fears about disorder if Mr Walker’s supporters were to turn up and asked the GTC to consider holding the hearing elsewhere.
The call by police follows a violent clash between anti-fascist campaigners and the right-wing English Defence League in the city two weeks ago.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “West Midlands Police requested a temporary adjournment of the General Teaching Council hearing amid concerns over public order. Previous hearings have attracted supporters of Mr Walker and counter protesters, and incidents of disorder have followed. Those incidents and current concerns from sectors of the community over the timing and venue of the hearing meant a postponement was the best option to ensure public safety.
“We acknowledge the committee’s concern that the matters relating to Mr Walker should be expedited as soon as possible at a later date or alternative venue. Officers are today making contact with a group which had been planning a protest outside the hearing to inform them of the adjournment.”
The allegation brought against Mr Walker by the GTC states that he engaged in unacceptable professional conduct by allegedly demonstrating views suggestive of racial and religious intolerance while using a school laptop.
The case against Mr Walker has already been adjourned several times. In November riot police were called to the GTC offices, where dozens of BNP supporters and anti-fascist activists had gathered. Adjourning the case, the GTC said it was “concerned about the length of time it is taking to progress this case” and said it “should not be subject to unnecessary delay”.
Mr Walker, a former soldier and karate expert, left his job at Houghton Kepier in 2007 after admitting using a school computer to access a BNP discussion forum. He faces becoming the first teacher in the country to be struck off the teaching register for religious intolerance if the GTC panel rules against him.
A new date for the hearing will be arranged in the next week and a decision on a new venue will be made.