Teacher suspended after using caricatures of Prophet Mohammad in class

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
·4-min read
Many protesters described the incident as 'offensive' and 'Islamaphobic'.(SWNS)
Protests took place outside Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire on Thursday morning over the use of derogatory caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in a religious studies class. (SWNS)

A West Yorkshire school has confirmed the suspension of a teacher who used derogatory caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in a religious studies lesson.

It comes after parents staged an angry protest over the incident outside the Batley school on Thursday morning and called for the teacher to be sacked.

The school "unequivocally" apologised over the inappropriate material used and said it is currently working on resolving the issue.

Headteacher Gary Kibble said: "The school unequivocally apologises for using a totally inappropriate resource in a recent religious studies lesson. The member of staff has also given their most sincere apologies.

"We have immediately withdrawn teaching on this part of the course and we are reviewing how we go forward with the support of all the communities represented in our school."

The teacher in question has been suspended pending an independent formal investigation.

Protests took place outside Batley Grammar School in west Yorkshire this morning. (Reach)
Many protesters described the use of the caricatures as offensive and Islamophobic. (Reach)
Three police officers could be seen guarding the school's front gate while at least four more were patrolling inside its premises. (SWNS)
Three police officers could be seen guarding the school's front gate during the protests, while at least four more were patrolling inside its premises. (SWNS)

Batley Grammar School delayed starting the school day on Thursday until 10am over the “disturbance" and advised pupils to stay home until then.

The protest came after a message spread on social media last night urging people to attend and demand the resignation of the teacher allegedly involved.

Many of the protesters described the incident as offensive and Islamophobic and called for the teacher to be prevented from teaching again.

Community figurehead Imam Mohammed Amin Pandor spoke to the crowd at around 11am, immediately following a meeting inside the school with headteacher Gary Kibble, and said the teacher in question had been suspended.

He said: "What happened here, we are disgusted. What has happened is totally unacceptable and we have made sure they are aware.

"The teacher has been suspended. They can't just sack him, they need to do their due process.

"We've asked for an investigation, an investigation to be independent.

"We are going to work with the school to make sure things like this don't happen."

In an email sent to parents, the headteacher apologised for the "inappropriate" resource used in the lesson.

It read: "The school would like to thank the parents who contacted us on 22 March highlighting concerns with a resource used in an RS lesson that day.

The road which the school is on was closed off by police, who erected a cordon stretching around 300ft. (SWNS)
The road the school is on was closed off during the protests by police, who erected a cordon stretching around 300ft. (SWNS)
Batley Grammar apologised for the incident. (Reach)
Batley Grammar has apologised for the incident and the teacher in question has been suspended. (Reach)

"Upon investigation, it was clear that the resource used in the lesson was completely inappropriate and had the capacity to cause great offence to members of our school community for which we would like to offer a sincere and full apology.”

With protesters gathering outside the school this morning, parents were advised of a delayed 10am school start in a text message.

It read: "Due to the disturbance outside of school if your child has not already set off please keep them at home as school will be starting at 10am.”

In the email to parents, the headteacher said the school had taken immediate action to investigate the matter further.

The measures taken include the removal of the resource from the materials, the suspension of that lesson content from the scheme of work and, as an additional precaution, a formal review of the religious studies curriculum.

More than a hundred protesters, including dozens of students in uniform, gathered outside Batley Grammar to voice their concern. (Reach)
More than a hundred protesters, including dozens of students in uniform, gathered outside Batley Grammar to voice their concern. (Reach)

The email ended: "The school is investigating the matter using formal processes and we are grateful for the support of the local authority."

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said: "We are aware of a small demonstration at the school, which is still ongoing.

"Local neighbourhood officers are in attendance.”

The protests come five months after teacher Samuel Paty was murdered in Paris by Islamic extremist Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov after he showed cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed to his students.

The protesters claim a teacher showed the cartoon during a religious studies lesson on Monday. (SWNS)
The protest came after a message spread on social media last night urging people to attend and demand the resignation of the teacher allegedly involved. (SWNS)
Officers from West Yorkshire Police attended the scene. (SWNS)
Officers from West Yorkshire Police attended the scene. (SWNS)

A French schoolgirl later admitted she had wrongly accused Mr Paty of asking Muslim students to leave the room before showing the images as she was not in the class on the day and did not see the cartoons.

Commenting on today's protest, councillor Carole Pattison from Kirklees Council said: “Batley Grammar is an academy school so the council has a very limited role in its running but we are aware of issues raised by parents this week.

“We are pleased to see that the school has taken swift action to resolve the issues alongside the local community.

“They have apologised, taken immediate action on teaching materials and they are reviewing the relevant processes.”

Yahoo News UK has contacted the school for further comment.