Letters & Correspondence

Batley Grammar School Fails to Stand Up For Free Speech


We were disappointed by the response of the headteacher of Batley Grammar School to the demands of a religious mob at his school gates on Thursday morning demanding he sack a Religious Studies teacher. The teacher’s sin, if media reports are accurate, was to have shown his pupils some of the controversial cartoons of Muhammad that appeared in Charlie Hebdo in the course of teaching them about that controversy in which 12 people were murdered by Islamist terrorists. This was exactly the same sin that led to the brutal murder of Samuel Paty by an Islamist terrorist in a suburb of Paris last year. But instead of standing up for the teacher’s right to free speech, the head made a grovelling apology to the mob, described the cartoons as “completely inappropriate” and suspended the teacher.

We have written three letters in connection with this episode: a letter to Gary Kibble, the headteacher, complaining about his failure to stand up for the speech rights of his staff member; a letter to John Robbins, the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, asking him to ensure the teacher is given round-the-clock police protection until this controversy subsides; and a letter to Helen Stephenson, the CEO of the Charity Commission, complaining about the behaviour of the Purpose of Life, a Muslim charity that condemned the teacher’s actions, called for him to be “permanently removed” from the school and – unforgivably, in the circumstances – named him. Not only did the charity doxx this teacher, it then published its letter naming him on Twitter.

We have referred to the letter from the Purpose of Life in our letters to the Chief Constable and the Charity Commission, and included a copy as an attachment to both letters. But we have not reproduced that letter here, for obvious reasons.