Following our report yesterday, Joseph Harker has written in today’s Guardian about the teacher who has been bizarrely cleared of racial and religious intolerance after describing immigrants and black people as ‘savage animals” and “filth” on a local website whilst using a school laptop during lesson time.
Adam Walker, a BNP member and a teacher at Houghton Kepler Sports College near Sunderland was investigated and dramatically cleared by a disciplinary panel of the General Teaching Council (GTC) of promoting religious and racial hatred.
The incident prompted a furious reaction from Lee Jasper who runs a Facebook campaign group ‘No to BNP teachers in our classrooms’ with nearly 10,000 members. Jasper responded to the decision as, “a clear abrogation of duty by the GTC investigation panel”.
“The GTC decision is perverse and flies in the face of substantive evidence presented to them. This decision will give a green light to BNP teachers who will now feel free to express similar views without fear of sanction. This decision is a disgrace and brings the GTC into disrepute.”
“They have effectively sanctioned racism in British schools. How the GTC can now be seen as ‘promoting diversity and equality’ as required under the teachers code of conduct is beyond me. They have effectively colluded with the racism of the BNP.”
Jasper has written to the Prime Minister David Cameron demanding that he delivers on his public commitment to introduce new legislation banning BNP members from becoming teachers. At a general election husting’s less than six weeks ago in Peckham, South London Mr Cameron said:
“Any good head teacher would not want to have a BNP member within 100 miles of their school.”
“Being a member of the BNP and being a teacher is completely incompatible. If we need to change the law [to ban BNP teachers] then we should do that.”
BNP member Adam Walker comments were unambiguous, offensive and along with his membership of the BNP provided clear evidence of racist motivation. Walker wrote on a Teesside website:
“Our country is fast becoming a dumping ground for the filth of the third world. And all we do is sleep. If we do not wake up and get a grip soon then the country we have fought and died for and cherish so much will itself be turned into a third world cess pit. Indeed, in some parts of our country it already has!!!! We have enough on our plates sorting out our own home grown scumbags and scroungers without allowing filth from other countries to come here and destroy us.”
“Pull all of our soldiers out of all foreign conflicts and get them back here to patrol our own borders. This will prevent our country from being over-run by third world savages, the likes of which we have seen murdering our people and destroying our way of life.”
Walker posted these comments during the school day whilst teaching a class of pupils and using a school laptop.
Despite these clearly racist comments and the fact that Walker is a member of an overtly racist political organisation such as the BNP, the GTC inexplicably failed to find Walker guilty. What is obvious is that the comments express views that are grossly offensive and clearly racist in both tone and content. The GTC disciplinary panel singularly failed in its duty to reach a reasonable conclusion based on the evidence.
Yesterday the panel concluded:
“Mr. Walker accepted that his action was not appropriate and has apologised for it. The Committee found unproven the allegation that Mr. Walker had expressed views suggestive of racial or religious intolerance.
The Committee determined that while Mr. Walker’s remarks were ‘troubling’ and some postings demonstrated an attitude that ‘might be considered racist’, it was not satisfied that the remarks demonstrated intolerance, which it defined as ‘…denying or refusing to others the right to dissent.”
Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union joined Jasper in condemning the GTC decision:
“This is an absolutely staggering judgment from the GTC. Their code of conduct requires teachers to ‘demonstrate respect for diversity and promote equality’ but the decision today makes a mockery of the code. The panel described Walker’s comments as ‘troubling’. This is a gross understatement. With this decision, the GTC has effectively given a license to promote religious and racial hatred in schools.”
“The NASUWT has been at the forefront of the campaign to ban the BNP and other far right and fascist organisations from working as teachers but we have been badly undermined by this GTC judgment.”