March 01, 2010

Simon Darby, BNP leader, interviewed by pupils in their classroom

A senior official in the British National Party was invited to address a classroom on whether the hijab should be banned, The Times has learnt.

Simon Darby, the BNP’s deputy leader, was phoned by 14-year-old students in Rochdale, Lancashire. The pupils, supervised by a teacher, asked him questions over the phone about the French ban on the hijab. The BNP’s policy is to ban Islamic dress in schools.

Andy Rymer, the head of Matthew Moss High School, told The Times that the students were doing a project on news reporting and had suggested contacting the BNP. He said: “We ask kids to be critically curious. This was something they were interested in and wanted to check out. They did so in a supported way with an intelligent teacher.

“(The school) is not encouraging people to contact or spread the philosophy of the BNP. Equally we have a significant number of kids in here for whom those issues are very real.”

However, the move raised concern from some parents and Paul Rowe, the area’s Liberal Democrat MP who separately participated in the discussion.

Mr Rowe said that there were plenty of other political parties that could have been consulted and that it was “inappropriate” for students to discuss issues with the BNP. He said: “I’m concerned that anybody is giving succour to the BNP.”

Some Asian parents at the school, in the Castleton area of the town, spoke of their concern at allowing the BNP a voice in the classroom.

Jamil Khan, whose daughter wears a headscarf to school, said: “I do not feel comfortable with the presence of the BNP in the classroom. They are extremists, full stop. They can only paint the picture one way.”

However, many parents said that they were happy to leave the matter to the discretion of the teacher and the school. Its governors said that as long as the issue was handled carefully, there was no reason to exclude the BNP as the party was active in the area and students would come across it eventually.

Ted Flynn, a governor and local councillor, said: “I’ve no sympathy with the BNP at all. But the pupils are intelligent enough not to be wavered by Nick Griffin and his compatriot’s opinions.”

Mr Raymer said that a group of Asian students were undertaking a project on news reporting and had decided to investigate the British reaction to the French Government’s decision to ban the hijab from schools.

He said they were not satisfied by Mr Darby’s response on the issue as he referred to British school uniforms.

Mr Raymer said: “At the end they were angry their question hadn’t been answered properly. The discussion turned to how journalists operate to get answers.”

On his blog, Mr Darby said: “It was reassuring to think that even in 2010 politically correct Britain there are still teachers who insist on the old adage that if you don’t have access to all the information, you will never come up with the right answer.”

It comes as a government review is due on whether BNP members should be prevented from becoming teachers. Police and prison officers are already barred from joining the party.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: “We trust head teachers as professionals to ensure appropriate visitors are invited into their school and that pupil welfare and safety issues are considered.”

The spokesman said the promotion of partisan political views was forbidden, adding that there were safeguards in law to guard against biased or unbalanced teaching.

The Times

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

There's something very odd going on

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1254519/National-Front-consulted-Ed-Balls-race-policy-schools.html#ixzz0gsfOsDLu

Barbara said...

Teachers often use reverse psychology - include the bullies in discussions of how to protect the vulnerable; give responsibility for keeping the playground tidy to the vandals etc.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

Anonymous said...

They need to appease the NF and BNP

Joe Chapman said...

"pupils are intelligent enough not to be wavered by Nick Griffin and his compatriot’s opinions"

I guess we don't need to worry about paedophiles either in that case if children are intelligent enough to see through their grooming?

No? Thought not.

AndyMinion (BatsMan) said...

Bloody hell! I had a teacher like that once...

Anonymous said...

Well sorry im anti bnp but i do beleive religous symbols[ours included] have no place in society. secular society is whats needed

Anonymous said...

"Well sorry im anti bnp but i do beleive religous symbols[ours included] have no place in society. secular society is whats needed"

But one of the charges that the right make is that it has nothing to do with Islam. Which then makes it just another piece of clothing. And since when do we want governments dictating what people wear?

They can't have it both ways.

La Di Da Gunner Graham said...

'Andy Rymer, the head of Matthew Moss High School, told The Times that..."(The school) is not encouraging people to contact or spread the philosophy of the BNP. Equally we have a significant number of kids in here for whom those issues are very real."'

What on earth is Mr Rymer blithering on about?

La Di Da Gunner Graham said...

Anonymous said...

"Well sorry im anti bnp but i do beleive religous symbols[ours included] have no place in society. secular society is whats needed"

And what are our religious symbols exactly.

Ben Trunch said...

I thought we have strict rules in the UK about keeping deviants and perverts out of our classrooms and away from our children.

Whoever next? Collett and Haman?

Help!