A TEACHER has been suspended from a school after he allegedly showed cartoons of Muhammed to his class, sparking a protest from parents.
Messages on social media urged people to gather outside Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire, after teacher Ben Denville was said to have shown the cartoons to pupils.
Around 50 parents gathered at the school this morning, causing the day to be delayed for an hour.
In a statement, Batley Grammar School 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“We have immediately withdrawn teaching on this part of the course and we are reviewing how we go forward with the support of all the communities represented in our school.
“It is important for children to learn about faith and beliefs, but this must be done in a sensitive way.
“The member of staff has been suspended pending an independent formal investigation.
“The school is working closely with the governing board and community leaders to help resolve the situation.”
Imam Mohammed Amin Pandor made a statement outside the school, saying the cartoons were “totally unacceptable” and said the teacher 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 my opinion this teacher’s teaching days are over.”
The Imam said he had spent time with headteacher Gary Kibble this morning discussing the issue and they had debated a statement yet to be released by the school.
Cops were in attendance but the protest remained peaceful.
Three police officers could be seen guarding the school’s front gate while at least four more were patrolling inside its premises.
The road which the school is on was closed off by police, who erected a cordon stretching around 300ft.
Protesters are reportedly being threatened with Covid fines by cops.
In an email sent to parents, Mr Kibble apologised for the teacher’s actions.
He said: “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.”
The mum of a child at the school said she attended the protest this morning to “show the country Islamaphobia won’t be tolerated”.
The woman in her 40s, who didn’t want to be named, said: “All we are asking for is respect.
“My child has been upset about what happened and so have I.
“I’m here this morning to show my child that this kind of Islamaphobic act won’t be tolerated.
“Do not disrespect our prophet, that’s the message. We need to respect all religions, including Islam.
“To me, this act seems malicious. We know the whole world is sensitive about this topic, look at what has happened in France.
“A religious studies teacher must be aware of these issues.”
She added: “Where in the curriculum does it say to show students these kinds of offensive things?
“As far as I’m aware the answer is nowhere. I can’t get my head around what this teacher thought he was doing.”
In October this year, teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an Islamist terrorist in France after a schoolgirl told her dad that he had shown them cartoons of the prophet.
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The girl later admitted she had made up the claims.
In September last year, seven people were detained after a meat cleaver attack outside Charlie Hebdo’s former offices in Paris.
Twelve people were massacred at the site in 2015 after the magazine published satirical cartoons of Muhammed.