A headteacher at an academy school has labelled members of his staff “racist Islamophobes” for not supporting an open doors policy on migration in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks. Writing anonymously, she details how junior staff reported senior colleagues for posting comments to their private Facebook pages which were deemed “racist”.
“One thing most head-teachers can take for granted is that their staff are united by a moral purpose. We work in schools because we want to invest in children’s futures, educating them to become global citizens,” she said in an article for the Guardian.
“So although I knew full well that when I arrived at school last Monday I would come across children whose opinions about the events in Paris would be at best closeted and misguided, I did not expect it from my staff.”
She notes that the vast majority of teachers in her school were on board with reinforcing the sanctioned message – “that the refugees from Syria were fleeing from the same people killing Parisians; that to blame all Muslims for the attacks was exactly what the terrorists wanted; that we are a school where hate is not allowed.”
But it was “not all plain sailing”. One younger teacher reported an older colleague who had shared Britain First posts on his personal Facebook page.
Britain First bills itself as a “patriotic political party” and a “street defence organisation”. Its content is much in the same vein of that put out by the English Defence League; both organisations have arisen thanks to the perception amongst mainly blue collar Brits that their rights and needs have been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness.
The younger member of staff complained that he found the sentiments “offensive and racist”.
Likewise a receptionist spoke to her line manager about some of the comments her colleagues had been making, such as “Send them back to their own country” and “shoot to kill”.
“Emotions were running high, people were saying things they had not thought through,” the headteacher said. “Carefully, I spoke to the offended, and to those who had offended – and tackled them without pointing the figure and shouting “Nasty, racist, xenophobic Islamophobe!” – though at least once I wanted to.
“As a headteacher, I expect disagreements over lesson observations and accountability. I never thought I would have to remind staff not to be racist.
“I will be doing my best to counter this by talking to staff, debating with them fiercely when I need to. But this feeling in my school concerns me deeply. If you can’t count on teachers to offer a thoughtful and informed reaction in the face of these atrocities, I worry about my country.”
A YouGov poll following the Paris attacks found that 65 percent of Brits want to see the country taking in fewer Syrian refugees. 16 percent had been swayed to that view by the Paris attacks, even before news broke that at least three of the terrorists who carried out the attack had smuggled themselves into Europe by posing as a Syrian refugee.
Just one in five thought that the country should take in more Syrian refugees.