Batley Grammar School announces independent investigation into Prophet Muhammad cartoon incident

Batley Grammar School announces independent investigation into Prophet Muhammad cartoon incident


Batley Grammar School announces independent investigation into Prophet Muhammad cartoon incident

Batley Grammar School announces independent investigation into Prophet Muhammad cartoon incident

An independent investigation has been launched after an image of the Prophet Muhammad was shown in a lesson at a Yorkshire school.

The inquiry will look at the context of how pupils at Batley Grammar School were shown the picture, according to the multi-academy trust that runs the school.

Protesters gathered outside the West Yorkshire school on Thursday and Friday last week after the teacher was suspended, provoking a nationwide debate about offence and free expression.

Batley Multi Academy Trust said in statement on Wednesday that an inquiry panel would begin work within a fortnight and it understood that “everyone will want clarity as soon as possible”.

“We believe the right way forward is for an independent investigation to review the context in which the materials (which caused offence) were used, and to make recommendations in relation to the religious studies curriculum so that the appropriate lessons can be learned and action taken, where necessary.”

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The statement added: “We will continue to support the whole school community as the investigation progresses, including all school staff and students.”

The trust said it expected the outcome of the investigation towards the end of May.

Gary Kibble, the school’s headteacher, earlier apologised for a “totally inappropriate image” being shown during a religious studies lesson – widely reported as taken from the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

He added that the teacher involved had “also relayed their most sincere apologies”.

Protesters told The Independent last week they wanted the teacher sacked.

A petition calling for the suspended teacher to be reinstated has been signed tens of thousands of times. The student who set it up claims the image was shown in a lesson about “racism and blasphemy”.

The father of the teacher said his son “keeps breaking down crying” amid fears he and his family may be killed.

“Look what happened to the teacher in France who was killed for doing the same thing,” he told the Daily Mail.

Last year, Samuel Party, a history and geography teacher, was beheaded outside his school in a Paris suburb after showing cartoons Muhammad in class.

Last week’s protests have been condemned by ministers, with Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, calling them “completely unacceptable”. Teachers should not be threatened for doing their job, he said, while Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, said it was important to defend free speech.

Additional reporting by Press Association


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