Only a week after a team reviewing race relations policy in schools for Children’s Secretary Ed Balls caused controversy when they consulted white extremists such as members of the National Front, a decision has been made to allow members of far-right racist organisations to teach.
The decision to allow members of far-right organisations to teach has come as a blow to teaching union NASUWT and to parents and children everywhere from black and minority ethnic races.
Maurice Smith, the former chief inspector of schools who led the inquiry, and an official from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), decided that he needed to consult members of the National Front so that he could make an informed decision. Despite Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, stating that far right presence promoted violence, intolerance and community division Smith has decided to allow members of far right organisations to teach.
In a report by the Press Association on Yahoo news today, Smith said “I do not believe that barring teachers or other members of the wider school workforce from membership of legitimate organisations which may promote racism is necessary at present, although it should be kept under active review.”
More worryingly Smith added that there was no relationship between racist behaviour and membership of a racist organisation.
Why does the government tolerate white race terror?
Despite the government clamping down on Muslim organisations and groups such as Islam4UK which was declared a terrorist group and unlawful for protesting against British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan; and despite the government placing their efforts to watch young Muslim pupils who they feel may turn to terrorism and even asking teachers and lecturers to inform on pupils and students with anti-western beliefs, it seems that white racists and racism is not given the same treatment.
Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP said on BBC1’s Question Time that the Ku Klux Klan was not a violent group, yet the government does not seem to see racist violence as terrorism. Griffin and his followers are allowed to engage in race violence without the organisation being banned.
In November 2008, Adam Walker, a teacher and member of the BNP resigned after accessing a far-right chat room during lessons.
Thirty-nine year-old Adam Walker, of Spennymoor, County Durham, accessed a far-right wing chat room during a lesson and posted critical comments against asylum seekers, immigrants and Muslims.
Walker resigned from his job at Houghton Kepier Sports College, Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, after admitting using a school computer to access a discussion forum about the BNP.
Walker who faced a ban from teaching was defended by the BNP who planned a demonstration in Birmingham City Centre.
In October 2008, education officer Craig Cox was allowed to keep his job after holding up a banner that read ‘Bring back slavery’, at a National Union Students summer meeting.
Twenty year-old Craig Cox was a newly appointed Education Officer of the University of Nottingham Students Union (NUS).
Black and anti-racist campaigners at the university lobbied to have Cox removed from his post, 2000 letters from students were sent in support of a no confidence motion in Cox, yet Nottingham Student Union Council voted to keep Cox in his job.
These two examples show the danger racist views and members of the far right pose to the education system and yet Maurice Smith said that there is no link between racist behaviour and being a member of a racist organisation.
Once again the threat the far right poses to race relations in this country is significant and once again a member of government has come to the rescue of far right free speech. This is a blow to the idea that Britain is a fair and tolerant society.
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