Monday, July 20, 2009

British Teacher Fired For Protesting Bigotry

Bigotry is banned in Britain, unless you happen to be Christian. That is how it seems to Nicholas Kafouris, a British teacher in a private school in East London who lost his $60,000.00 a year position after complaining of anti Christian bigotry.

Bigland Green primary school has become a school that is predominantly Muslim. Rather than teach civility towards non Muslims and tolerance of diversity, Kafouris found jarring instances of anti Christian and anti British intolerance. Most teachers see their job as being that of transmitting civic and moral values along with facts and skills. It was this naive assumption that cost Mr. Kafouris his job. The Daily Mail, a British newspaper reports as follows of the travails of Nicholas Kafouris.

Nicholas Kafouris said he lost his £30,000-a-year post because he would not tolerate the 'openly racist' behaviour of pupils as young as eight.

He said the predominantly Muslim youngsters openly praised Islamic extremists in class, and hailed the September 11 terrorists as 'heroes and martyrs'.

Greek-born Mr Kafouris, 40, taught for more than ten years at Bigland Green Primary in Tower Hamlets, East , where according to the most recent Ofsted report 'almost all' the 465 pupils are from ethnic minorities and a vast proportion do not speak English as a first language.

He is taking the school, its headmistress and assistant head to an employment tribunal where he will claim he was forced out after highlighting the rise in racism among pupils.

In 2006, said Mr Kafouris, he brushed against a boy while giving him a book.

'He said rather brusquely to me, "Don't touch me, you're a Christian". I found this very offensive."

The story details a succession of events in which Mr. Kafouris attempted to address incidents in which ethnic hatred was voiced in a school setting. Although the school had a "Racist incident reporting sheet" which Nicholas Kafouris filled out on numerous occasions, the head mistress, Jill Hankey turned a deaf ear to his complaints. Britain has a school rating system called the Ofsted rating. Complaints such as those of Mr. Kafouris can lower the rating. According to Kafouris, a desire to skew the school ratings was as much of a motive as a desire to be politically correct.

Reading the story created the impression that the school had cultivated through neglect an atmosphere of anti Christian and anti Jewish bigotry. In the Daily Mail article, Mr. Kafouris cites two such incidents as follows.

"And in January 2007, he claims some pupils 'expressed delight' that a child had died when a wall collapsed on him in London.

When asked why, he said one of the children replied: 'Because he's English.' The following month, during a religious education lesson about Jonah and the whale, he claims one of the pupils asked if Jonah was a Jew, before shouting: 'I hate the Jews, they're our enemies."

The Daily Mail article raises disturbing questions. The pervasive attitude of bigotry that was apparent in the Bigland Green school had been a long time in developing. It is apparent that the transmission of civic values is totally being neglected in that school. There is a very real danger that lethal hatred is being incubated in the Bigland Green School.

Britain is no stranger to sectarian strife. Northern Ireland was a battlefield for years between Protestants of English ancestry and an Irish minority of the Catholic faith. It would be a pity if the sectarian strife of Northern Ireland were to be replaced with Asian Muslim-English ethnic warfare. It is not hard to imagine the students of the Bigland Green School growing up to be violent sectarian militants. It is said that "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree." I do not look forward to reading of Bigland Green's graduates.

It certainly seems that Nicholas Kafouris was wronged by the administration of Bigland Green, as were the students who were denied moral guidance. If the school can not be changed through strong new leadership, perhaps it should close its doors. If enough schools fail as has Bigland Green, I fear that Britain will fail as well.

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