A religious studies school teacher who allegedly showed a caricature of Prophet Muhammed to his students during a lesson at Batley Grammer School has been placed under police protection, as per Mirror Online.
There has been a second day of protests outside the school, which has meant that the school has been closed and students sent home.
Typically, individuals will only be placed under police protection if there have been credible threats regarding their safety.
The school has apologised for showing the “inappropriate” material to students and has confirmed that the religious studies teacher involved has been suspended.
Quoting an unnamed senior police source, the Daily Telegraph said the teacher in question was now receiving police protection and was at a ‘safe location’, reports Mirror Online.
The source told the paper there had been meetings at West Yorkshire Police regarding handling the ‘fallout’ and keeping the teacher safe.
The insider told reporters: “Officers have been especially assigned to him. This is obviously very sensitive.”
A Department for Education spokesperson criticised both the display of the caricature and the nature of the protest.
“It is never acceptable to threaten or intimidate teachers,” the spokesman said. “We encourage dialogue between parents and schools when issues emerge.
“However, the nature of protest we have seen, including issuing threats and in violation of coronavirus restrictions, are completely unacceptable and must be brought to an end.
“Schools are free to include a full range of issues, ideas and materials in their curriculum, including where they are challenging or controversial, subject to their obligations to ensure political balance.
“They must balance this with the need to promote respect and tolerance between people of different faiths and beliefs, including in deciding which materials to use in the classroom.”
Images from the scene, shared on social media earlier today, show at least six police officers posted to the school, helping to calm the situation down.
A student from the school has started a petition on Change.org entitled: ‘Keep the RS Teacher at Batley Grammar School‘. So far, 8,900 have added their name to the digital petition.
The unnamed sponsor of the petition said:
‘The RS Teacher was trying to educate students about racism and blasphemy. He warned the students before showing the images and he had the intent to educate them.
‘He does not deserve such large repercussions. He is not racist and did not support the Islamophobic cartoons in any manner.
‘Students wish to make a statement and reinstate him back as a teacher in Batley Grammar School due to his pure intentions’.
A spokesperson for the protesters said:
‘The use of these materials was done in a deliberate, threatening and provocative manner leaving the children concerned for their safety and wellbeing.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said the school road was closed for a short time, no arrests were made, and the police issued no fines.
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