Government ministers condemn Muslim parents over Batley protests

Batley Grammar School

Two government ministers and the Department for Education have condemned Muslim parents for protesting against a teacher who showed pupils blasphemous images of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) at Batley Grammar School.

This morning Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the protests were “not right” and that “we shouldn’t have teachers feeling intimidated.”

“That is not a road we want to go down in this country so I would strongly urge people concerned about this issue not to do that,” he told Sky News. Mr Jenrick added that reports the teacher is now in hiding are “very disturbing.”

Last night Education Secretary Gavin Williamson condemned “completely unacceptable” protests outside the school.

Robert Jenrick. Pic: UK Parliament

Mr Williamson said: “It is never acceptable to threaten or intimidate teachers. 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.”

He added that schools “are free to include a full range of … ideas and materials in their curriculum, including where they are challenging or controversial,” but that they “must balance this with the need to promote respect and tolerance between people of different faiths and beliefs.”

The Department for Education also condemned the demonstrations as “completely unacceptable.”

A spokesperson said in statement: “It is never acceptable to threaten or intimidate teachers. 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.”

Batley Grammar School has suspended the teacher involved, with headteacher Gary Kibble saying: “The school unequivocally apologises for using a totally inappropriate image in a recent religious studies lesson. It should not have been used. A member of staff has also relayed their most sincere apologies.”

West Yorkshire Police confirmed they were called to monitor the demonstrations, but no COVID fines or arrests were made.

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