Tuesday, February 9, 2010

UK Teacher fired for complaints against students who praised 9/11 bombers

As a teacher myself, I found the following news story disconcerting (emphasis added):
Christian teacher 'forced out' after complaining Muslim pupils praised 9/11 hijackers as 'heroes'

A Christian teacher yesterday claimed he was forced out of his job after complaining that Muslim pupils as young as eight hailed the September 11 hijackers as heroes.

Nicholas Kafouris, 52, is suing his former school for racial discrimination.

He told a tribunal that he had to leave his £30,000-a-year post because he would not tolerate the 'racist' and 'anti-Semitic' behaviour of Year 4 pupils.

The predominantly Muslim youngsters openly praised Islamic extremists in class and described the September 11 terrorists as 'heroes and martyrs'.

One pupil said: 'Don't touch me, you're a Christian' when he brushed against him.

Others said: 'We want to be Islamic bombers when we grow up', and 'The Christians and Jews are our enemies - you too because you're a Christian'.

Mr Kafouris, a Greek Cypriot, taught for 12 years at Bigland Green Primary School in Tower Hamlets, East London.

According to Ofsted 'almost all' its 465 pupils are from ethnic minorities and a vast proportion do not speak English as a first language.

The teacher claims racial discrimination by the school, its headmistress and her assistant head after they failed to take action about the comments made by pupils to him.

He said there was a change in attitude of the pupils after the atrocities of September 11, 2001. They told him: 'We hate the Christians' and 'We hate the Jews', despite his attempts to stop them.

He said he filled out a Racist Incident Reporting Sheet but claimed headmistress Jill Hankey dismissed his concerns.

In a statement submitted to the Central London Employment Tribunal he said: 'Miss Hankey proceeded to excuse and justify the pupil's behaviour, conduct and remarks to me as if I had no right to be offended by the child's remarks and conduct.

'Amongst Miss Hankey's justifications for the child's remarks, she said, "If the child was older, say 15, I might take it more seriously. He's only nine - he's only doing it to wind you up".'

He added: 'I felt the head's behaviour and conduct towards me amounted to direct religious discrimination. I was intimidated in the way she spoke to me which indicated "Don't come back with such issues again".'

Mr Kafouris, a bachelor, said the comments became more frequent after the head did nothing about the initial incidents.

There are several factors here to consider: With Kafouris being a Greek Cypriot, could that trigger ethnic discrimination?  If Kafouris' claims are, indeed, truthful, how can the school and its administrators not act?  What if the situation involved White students harassing a Black teacher, or vice versa?  Would the administration also just say the problem is due to the students' young age and should, therefore, not be taken seriously?

Source: UK's Mail Online
H/T: Hummers & Cigarettes

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