June 24, 2007

Union backing for BNP-row teacher

A teacher suspended for accessing right-wing political material on the internet during school time has become the victim of a "kangaroo court", his union has claimed.

Mark Walker may now take legal action against education chiefs after his headteacher allowed a separate teaching union - Unison - to hold an anti-fascist meeting on its premises last Monday. The union sent letters to members of staff urging them to attend in opposition to "fascist infiltration" of schools. Though not naming Mr Walker - a BNP council candidate - he is indirectly referred to as a "teacher currently suspended" and the letter states that teaching unions support "action being taken" against him.

We revealed last week how Mr Walker, 36, was suspended from Sunnydale School in Shildon, County Durham, in February after checks showed he had used school computers to look at right-wing websites during teaching time. No other disciplinary action has been taken and he still hopes to be reinstated to his job.

Meanwhile, his brother Adam, 38, has quit his teaching job at Houghton Kepier foundation school in Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, after he was also found to have accessed right-wing websites on the school's computer.

Last week Mark's union - Solidarity - which has close links with the BNP, slammed the decision to allow the meeting to take place before the internal investigation.

General Secretary Peter Harrington [?] - who revealed that Mr Walker may consider legal action over the anti-fascist meetings - said: "It is ludicrous that a meeting against fascism was held at a school where a teacher has been suspended - we believe - for being a member of the BNP. It is like a kangaroo court, and the decision of the school is outrageous, as is the stand taken by the unions. Whatever one's personal view of the BNP, it is a legal political organisation which has been sanctioned by the state. Under the Human Rights Act he is allowed freedom of political expression. It is no coincidence that computers he had used - and not those of other teachers - were checked by the school authorities."

The National Union of Teachers - which had backed Mr Walker - is understood to have withdrawn its support. Neither the school's headteacher nor Durham County Council were prepared to comment. Our calls to Unison were not returned.

Sunday Sun (Newcastle)


Anonymous said...

It seems like the work of Solidarity is still continuing despite its internal differences. Mr Harrington is taking on the education bosses and sticking up for one of his members. Just what you'd expect of any half-decent union rep.

Anonymous said...

This case is worrying in some respects. Currently the school authorities are having a go at the BNP but it's not a great stretch of the imagination to see them coming for left activists later. We should be careful not to establish precedents that could be used against us later.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Harrington! Yet again the erstwhile "General Secretary" of the stolen union manages to grab time to plunder all the internet forums and blogs, leaving his self-righteous and self-preening postings about himself! What a self-publicist and self-abuser!

Those on the Left shouldn't take in his fake postings where he tries to covet sympathy for himself from his former left-wing friends. Harrington is (rightfully) reviled and despised by the Left. Don't be taken in by this man.