Eton College — the elite school that has educated everyone from the Duke of Wellington and George Orwell to Princes William and Harry and the current Archbishop of Canterbury — has gone woke.
Actually, it has been heading that way for quite some time under its grisly, new-ish Head Master Simon ‘Trendy Hendy’ Henderson — the dripping wet creature responsible for the rainbow flag now fluttering limply above the school’s 15th-century buildings.
But Henderson’s latest move really is the final straw for this once mighty institution, which has been training the British elite since Henry VI founded it in 1440.
The Telegraph has the story:
The £42,500-a-year boarding school has been accused of “prioritising emotional safety over intellectual challenge” after it allegedly banned a presentation on the theme of masculinity from being delivered to students.
Will Knowland, who has taught English at Eton College for nine years, alleges that he has been dismissed for gross misconduct following a dispute over a lecture he was due to give pupils earlier this year.
The lecture, titled “The Patriarchy Paradox” was part of the Perspectives course which is taken by older students to encourage them to think critically about subjects of public debate.
But the school objected to this lecture, which was essentially a way of teaching the boys not to be ashamed of being male. You might not think that this was a message that needed emphasising in a school which has been educating the upper echelons of the patriarchy for nearly 600 years. However, the English public school system is not what it used to be: often, under the influence of “progressive” headmasters like Trendy Hendy, they have become just as obsessed with pushing SJW politics as any state school.
I know this because one of my sons went to Eton. He was still there when Trendy Hendy arrived and began his woke purging. One of the first things Trendy Hendy did was to show how down he was with the kids by giving them high fives rather than shake their hands. But it got worse, much worse.
More and more leftist politics were squeezed into the curriculum. On one occasion, the boys were forced to sit through a lecture from feminist Laura Bates, creator of the Everyday Sexism Project: essentially so they could be told about the perils of toxic masculinity.
Knowland’s lecture was a much-needed antidote to this relentless political correctness. As he said in a letter to the school, he felt the topical of “masculinity” in the school “lacked balance”. Which is a polite way of saying that the boys were being force-fed feminist propaganda.
Before delivering the lecture (which would have been for senior boys), he circulated it around the school — and one staff member objected.
I understand that this staff member is one of the new intake of wokistas who hate Eton’s traditional values and want to reshape it according to the politically correct values of the liberal left.
Henderson could very easily have ignored this complaint simply by defending the school’s long traditions of freedom of expression. Eton, as anyone familiar with it knows, offers — or used to offer — probably the best, most rounded, most intellectually challenging education of almost any school in the world. Though very traditional in its emphasis on rigour and hard work, it is also remarkably libertarian in the way that boys’ eccentricities and personal interests are encouraged. Boys finish their five years at Eton having been exposed to all manner of intellectual ideas.
This tradition is slowly being strangled by the new regime. Rather than stick up for Knowland, Henderson backed the staff member who wanted his lecture censored.
Knowland put his Patriarchy Paradox lecture up on his YouTube channel Knowland Knows.
His site’s motto is taken from George Orwell: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.
One of the mildly contentious points he makes in his lecture concerns formerly male transgender athletes invading women’s sport.
He quotes a female fighter who’d had her skull fractured by a ‘transgender’ fighter in the ring.
“I am an abnormally strong woman in my own right. I have never felt the strength I felt in a fight like that night. I have never felt so dominated in my life. When it comes to a combat sport, I don’t think it’s fair.”
Apparently this was all too much for Eton’s woke faction. (It has another, probably larger but less vocal faction which loathes all this left-wing nonsense).
By Knowland’s account, he was suspended after refusing to remove the video from his YouTube channel.
The Telegraph reports:
“Because I believe passionately in free speech, I said I would only take it down if given a clear reason, which is how I ended up being dismissed,” Mr Knowland alleged.
He said he is appealing against his dismissal, and if this fails he intends to take the school to an employment tribunal if necessary.
In a fundraising page he set up to raise money for legal fees for a possible tribunal he said: “I have been dismissed from my employment. My wife and I will be made homeless, along with our five children.”
As one critic has asked:
‘How long can public schools survive if they’re seen to go woke? Will parents be willing to pay £40,000 for their children to be indoctrinated in a way I cannot imagine they’re delighted by?’
Crikey. How long can public schools survive if they’re seen to go woke? Will parents be willing to pay £40,000 for their children to be indoctrinated in a way I cannot imagine they’re delighted by? https://t.co/kEofwDY8kl
— Marcus Walker (@WalkerMarcus) November 26, 2020
How indeed? Whatever you may think of Eton — and it does attract an awful lot of chippiness and hatred from people who don’t really understand it — it used to be the acme of educational excellence; and it was just as capable of turning out radicals — Shelley and Orwell, say — as hapless Establishment stooges like David Cameron and Boris Johnson.
Now, under the new regime it has become yet another once fine institution which has capitulated to the forces of woke. Eton is finished – or will be unless enough of its alumni complain and do something, fast, about Trendy Hendy…
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