By KLTV Newsdesk –
A teacher at Batley Grammar School has been suspended after allegedly showing “inappropriate” caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad is a religious studies lesson.
The teacher allegedly used cartoon images of the founder of Islam in a religious studies lesson on Monday (March 22).
The school later confirmed that the teacher in question has been suspended and a formal investigation is set to take place.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the school gates from around 7:30 am this morning, asking for the resignation of the teacher.
Police officers shut down Carlinghow Hill in both directions and were stationed at the gates as the start of the school day was delayed, however the protest remained peaceful.
Director of the Peace Institute, Imam Mohammed Amin Pandor, described the use of the images as “totally unacceptable”
In a statement made outside the school around 11 am, he said: “What has happened in the school – we are appalled.
“What has happened is totally unacceptable. We have made sure the school understands that.”
“The school is preparing a statement. Our discussion was that they prepared a statement and we weren’t happy with that statement.”
He added that he was working with the school, and asked for an independent investigation with some members of the community to be on the investigative panel.
He said: “We’re going to work with the school to make sure in future, things like that don’t happen.”
The school initially issued a statement to parents via email offering “a sincere and full apology”.
Batley Grammar School Headteacher Gary Kibble later apologised directly in a statement.
In the statement, he said: “The school unequivocally apologies for using a totally inappropriate resource in a recent religious studies lesson. It should not have been used.
“The member of staff has also relayed 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“We have immediately withdrawn teaching on this part of the course and we are reviewing how we go forward with the support of all our communities represented in our school.”
“It is important for children to learn about faiths and beliefs, but this must be done in a respectful, sensitive way.”
The statement further confirmed that the teacher has been suspended, pending an “independent, formal investigation”.
The statement continued: “The school is working closely with our governing boar and community leaders to help us resolve this situation.
“I know many of you will have questions, but we are undertaking a formal process now and it is therefore very difficult for us to answer any of those questions without jeopardising [the investigation].
“We hope that we reach a swift conclusion moving forward.”
Protesters began to disperse shortly after police reopened Carlinghow Hill. No COVID fines or fixed penalty notices were issued.