Inquiry into how pupils were shown Prophet Muhammad cartoons

Independent inquiry into ‘context’ of how Batley Grammar School pupils were shown Prophet Muhammad cartoons in’blasphemy’ lesson will be held after Muslim parents’ protests

  • Furious protesters including Muslim parents rallied outside the school gates 
  • The teacher has been suspended and gone into hiding for fear of his own safety
  • Batley Multi Academy Trust said today an inquiry panel would probe ‘context’ 

An independent investigation will probe how pupils at Batley Grammar School were shown a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad, the trust announced today.

Furious protesters including Muslim parents rallied outside the school gates in West Yorkshire on Thursday and Friday last week in a show of anger.

The teacher, who has been defended by free speech campaigners, has been suspended and gone into hiding for fear of his own safety.  

Batley Multi Academy Trust said today that an inquiry panel would begin work within a fortnight to drill down into the ‘context’ of the episode.

Furious protesters including Muslim parents rallied outside the school gates in West Yorkshire on Thursday and Friday last week in a show of anger

The teacher, who has been defended by free speech campaigners, has been suspended and gone into hiding for fear of his own safety (protesters pictured)

It said in a statement: ‘We understand everyone will want clarity as soon as possible.’

It added: ‘We’re grateful for the constructive engagement with all our stakeholders over the last few days with regard to Batley Grammar, one of the schools within our trust.

‘We believe the right way forward is for an independent investigation to review the context in which the materials (which caused offence) were used, and to make recommendations in relation to the Religious Studies curriculum so that the appropriate lessons can be learned and action taken, where necessary.’

The statement added: ‘We will continue to support the whole school community as the investigation progresses, including all school staff and students.

‘We understand everyone will want clarity as soon as possible, so can confirm we expect to be able to announce that we have appointed an independent investigation panel over the next two weeks, with the investigation commencing on the April 12, and anticipate the investigation outcomes towards the end of May.’

People gather outside the gates of Batley Grammar School last week

A petition calling for the suspended teacher to be reinstated has passed more than 60,000 signatures.

Headteacher Gary Kibble apologised after the teacher showed the cartoon, widely reported as taken from the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, during a religious studies lesson.

The teacher’s parents told MailOnline how their son now feared for his life and how they believed ‘the school has thrown my son under a bus’.

Protesters who gathered outside the school gates claimed the school has not taken the issue seriously.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said last week that suggestions that the teacher was in hiding were ‘very disturbing’, and branded the protests as ‘not right’.

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