Case Study – AA
AA was referred to social services by his secondary school because he was perceived to be on the path to becoming radicalised. In one of his Home Economic classes, the teacher requested all students to bring in meat or poultry, but AA said to his teacher in front of the class, “but government is banning halal meat!” The teacher questioned why, and AA replied, “…because government hates Muslims”. Additionally, AA would frequently turn up late for registration at school in the mornings, and when questioned by the teacher, he replied, “because of morning prayer”. The mother said to PREVENT watch that AA had lied to his teacher. Morning prayers are much earlier in the day, and the real reason for going to school late was connected to him being bullied. AA did not, however, want the teacher to know about this because he feared the bullying would become more severe. The school believes that AA is on the path to being radicalised. Social services have therefore been contacted by the school though no contact has yet been made by them. In the meantime, AA has been transferred to an Islamic school in Kent, though the family planned this before the school had made the referral to social services. PREVENT watch is currently involved in providing advice and support to AA’s family on this on-going matter.
What AA’s case reveals is that his politically held views, rather than being challenged by the teacher in the classroom were used to infer radicalisation, and led to his referral to an external agency. Also, the fact that AA was encountering difficulties at school through bullying suggests that his ideas and views may have been influenced by these difficulties. It is therefore critical that already existing mechanisms are used to support students to ensure their issues, grievances and ideas are addressed internally rather than escalated to external agencies. Schools have a duty of care to their students, and it is important that this duty of care does not entail the reporting of an individual to an external agency without reasonable cause. Schools and educational institutions deal with student violence and fighting, for example, without resorting matters to external agencies such as the police. PREVENT watch believes that non- securitised and internal measures should be used in all such cases, without discrimination. Failing to engage students internally, and referring them to external agencies, as happened in the case of AA, increases the likelihood that they will move into those spaces, particularly online, in a bid to make their ideas and views heard. In instances such as this, it is more likely that an individual will become radicalised without hindrance.