A British teachers’ union are drafting new speech guidelines focused on “extremism” after Breitbart Senior Editor Milo Yiannopoulos was banned from speaking at his former school earlier this week.
The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is reported to be working on “fresh advice” to teachers and lecturers following Milo’s recent ban, and are set to recommend that educators focus on “whether they are going to breach any legislation around inciting hatred or violence, and whether the school can keep children safe, including whether protest activity might be a security concern” when considering events and visiting speakers.
Though claiming to be pro-free speech and expressing interest in fighting for “the right of speakers such as Yiannopoulos to express their opinions”, the general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Mary Bousted, added that “schools had a “particular duty of care” when it came to exposure of pupils to extreme views”.
“I do think there is an issue with him,” she said. “This is somebody who says interest groups such as feminism and Black Lives Matter deal with feelings rather than facts.”
“School is a place where pupils have a right to feel safe” continued Bousted. “They don’t have a choice about being there and schools have a duty over what they are exposed to.”
Milo was banned from his former school, the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, earlier this week after the school received advice from “The Department For Education’s counter extremism unit”.
Matthew Baxter, the head teacher of the school, claimed that though staff and students were “overwhelmingly in favor” of Milo’s talk going ahead, the decision to cancel had been taken following “contact from the Department For Education’s counter extremism unit, the threat of demonstrations at the school by organised groups and members of the public and our overall concerns for the security of the school site and the safety of our community.”
“Objection to our hosting Mr Yiannopoulus came almost entirely from people with no direct connection to the Langton” he continued, hinting at the outside intervention.
At the same time, nearly 50 British university academics endorsed Milo’s ban, smearing him with false labels and claiming him to be a “hardline misogynist”, “white supremacist”, and “spokesman” for the alt right.
“How can we then expect Sixth Form students to be able to critically deconstruct it?” claimed the “academics,” before declaring that the school “should not conflate the defense of freedom of speech with complicity with the institutionalization of extremist discourses and hate speech”.
In response, nearly 250 students at the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys signed an open letter demanding the ability for a Milo talk to take place, and attacking the notion of safe spaces, declaring “we do not need to be protected”.
“At a time when undergraduates from the UK and the US have consistently protested and banned Milo, the Sixth Form students of our institution sought to host an event where his arguments could be laid out in the open, to stand or fall on their own merits, and to be challenged with reason and civil debate rather than hysterics and censorship” explained the students in their letter.
“The young men and women of our Sixth Form have been implicitly and explicitly told by outsiders that we are at risk from meme political ideas. By doing this, not only are we more driven to prove our intellectual maturity, but the disengagement of 16-18 year olds and young people from politics is more entrenched, despite a concerted effort by successive governments to be more inclusive of young people in the political discourse.”
“Who even knew the DoE had a “counter-extremism” unit? And that it wasn’t set up to combat terrorism but rather to punish gays with the wrong opinions?” said Yiannopoulos about the situation in a statement. “Perhaps if I’d called my talk “MUSLIMS ARE AWESOME!” the National Union Of Teachers (NUT) and Department of Education would have been cool with me speaking.”
In a statement to the Sun newspaper, MILO also condemned British Prime Minister Theresa May for allowing the counter-extremism unit to intervene.
“Everybody’s worst fears that Theresa May is a total fascist have been confirmed by her sinister counter extremist goons” he claimed.
Milo is currently on his “Dangerous Faggot” tour around the US, where he has spoken at universities all over the country.