‘Ahmad’ 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 Ahmad said to his teacher in front of the class: “But government is banning halal meat!” The teacher questioned why, and Ahmad replied, “Because government hates Muslims”.
What Ahmad’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. 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. Ahmad’s views could have been easily challenged and diffused within the educational context. Schools and educational institutions deal with student violence and bullying, for example, without resorting matters to external agencies such as the police.
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NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.