Date: May 2015
Case study: XX
XX, a young teenager in secondary school, delivered a short presentation on the concept of the Islamic State, as he wanted to dispel the media narratives of ISIS equating to the concept historically. The presentation was held during form time, and the class, including the tutor enjoyed the presentation – the presentation included topics such as architecture, civilisation, and public administration in society. The teacher went further and sent a letter home, congratulating the parents on their son’s fantastic presentation on the concept of the historical Islamic State.
However, a few days later, the head of year heard about the presentation from another source and took issue with it, calling the student into her office, and asking, ‘do you know what extremism means’? Moreover, the head of year, made a telephone call to XX’s family to say they had concerns about the presentation and have contacted the Sutton Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). Sutton MASH requested referral to be made to social services. This referral was triggered by the school’s safeguarding officer recommendation. Consequently, the parents were asked whether they wanted to have their son enrolled on a voluntary Channel programme – the parents did not provide consent. This case is on-going, as the social services and local council have not contacted the family since.
This case establishes how teachers are monitoring student’s opinions and worldviews, but further how a climate of fear exists around the opinions of Muslim students, even where those opinions are clearly expressed. Now that the PREVENT duty is a legal obligation, it becomes questionable how many dubious referrals will be made to PREVENT officers.