Date: March 2015
Case study – AA
In a case based in Birmingham, a Muslim primary school referred a child of 8 years old to PREVENT’s Channel programme – which systematically attempts to de-radicalise individuals at risk of being extremists – due to a concerning reflective homework piece, which referenced violence and guns. When the parents of the child were approached, the offer of assistance was declined as the parents did not believe that the child displayed a marker of extremism. The father said AA was interested in guns and fighting due to the Marvel cartoons he watches on television and this may have transcended to his reflective homework piece.
Channel is voluntary, and hence the parents decided to not consent to sending their son on the programme. AA’s father mentioned that the social services and a member of the local council visited the family home, trying to persuade the family to place AA on the Channel Programme. There were several attempts made to contact the family, and the father said, “I felt they were trying to force me”.
This is just one case that illustrates how misunderstanding of extremism and radicalisation within the school led to a disproportional referral to PREVENT’s Channel, and have negatively impacted a family. This case occurred before 1 July 2015, when PREVENT did not obtain a legal status. The case demonstrates how those posed with the PREVENT duty were insistent on applying the policy, even without fully understanding the indicators for what constitutes radicalisation.