Teachers claim they are being used as ‘stormtroopers’ to fight extremism in schools

Teachers claim they are being used as 'stormtroopers' to fight extremism in schools
Teachers claims students new fear speaking up while debating issues of terrorism (Picture: Rex)

Teacher have complained they are being used to fight against Islamist extremism in schools, likening themselves to ‘stormtroopers’.

They claim teenagers are staying silent in classroom discussions for fear of being reported for radical views, effectively ‘shutting down debate’ in schools, the conference of the National Union of Teachers was told.

‘We are really being expected to be the frontline stormtroopers, who listen, who spy, and notify the authorities about students that we may be suspicious of,’ said Jan Nielsen, an NUT member from Wandsworth, south London.

Executive member Alex Kenny said some Muslim pupils were offended by Muhammad cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo – the French magazine whose staff were murdered by Islamists.

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But he said – because of the government’s Prevent strategy – they were unwilling to join debate in case they were labelled extremist. Mr Kenny told the conference in Harrogate that Prevent – which has failed to prevent several schoolchildren going to Syria to join Islamic State – was a ‘blunt instrument’.

It was not needed because radicalised pupils could be dealt with under child protection laws.

A Tory spokesman said the strategy – which means teachers can be prosecuted for failing to report concerns – was not intended to stifle debate.

‘Teaching about individual liberty and tolerance is part of our promotion of British values,’ he said. Prevent began in 2003 but was overhauled by the coalition.

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6 April 2015 | 9:39 pm – Source: metro.co.uk

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