School to investigate recording of teacher confronting pupil over pro-Palestine message

Rochdale school investigate a confrontation between a pupil and two members of staff regarding Palestine.

A Rochdale school says it is investigating a confrontation between a pupil and two members of staff regarding Palestine.

An audio emerged this week which is believed to be recorded at the Oulder Hill Community School. The school said it would like ‘to reassure parents that an investigation is taking place into the events at school and subsequent messages, vidoes and audio’.

In the audio a child believed to be from year 7 (12-13 years old) is asked why he is displaying ‘a pro-Palestinian message on his face mask’.

The teacher begins by asking: “Do you know what; you don’t know me, I could be – my descendants could be Israeli Jews that Palestinians could have killed. How would that make me feel?

“What are your political views? Share them, what are they? Go on tell us.”

The child replies: “Babies and little children are being killed for no reason at all. It is happening in Palestine.”

The teacher goes on to say that politics should not be discussed in school.

The teacher then goes on to tell the child: “There are also Israeli babies and children and women being killed, it’s not just one sided it’s a war, two sides.

“I can’t bear racism at all, if you have racist views keep them somewhere else they aren’t welcome here.”

The teacher continues: “If you have an opinion, ask about the facts about stuff, who has given you your opinion? Where is your information from? When there is a war there are two sides to the story you know that, to be honest I don’t have enough information to hold an opinion.

“This is how people end up being brainwashed about things like you have been… some people end up joining forces with these people. We don’t bring political views into school. We aren’t saying you can’t have views, if people bought these views into school there would be uproar.”

The school has released a statement today saying: “You may be aware of an amount of unrest amongst parents and in the wider community related to posts on social media and recordings/ videos being circulated of a discussion between two members of our staff and a pupil related to events in Gaza.

“The Oulder Hill Governing body would like to take this opportunity to reassure parents that an investigation is taking place into the events at the school.

“As governors, we request staff, parents, students and friends of our school to let the processes play out.

“Governors would further remind all staff, pupils and parents that there is absolutely no place at Oulder Hill for any threats or intolerence. We pride ourselves in our committment to race equality.”

The statement adds: “The school has robust proven policies for addressing these matters that we would ask everybody to respect and follow.”

The statement says that the governors ‘recognise the strength of feeling around the topic’.

The school’s message was also shared by commentator and broadcaster Mohammed Shafiq who is a governor who added he could not comment on the matter until the investigation had been completed.

A message on the school website from headteacher John Watson adds: “Our extensive PSHE curriculum covers the Israel and Palestine conflict and given the increased tensions and media reports we will be covering this topic before half-term so that students understand the discussions taking place around them.

“I was delighted to be joined by Imam Irfan in assembly this morning who supports our approach and we are very grateful for his support. He will continue to work with us and support our students.”

By Muhammad Khan, Asian Image

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