From the Telegraph
A GCSE student was disqualified over “obscene racial comments” after an “over-zealous” examiner mistook her vegetarianism for Islamophobia, it has emerged.
Abigail Ward, a 16-year-old pupil at Gildredge House school in Eastbourne, east Sussex, was penalised for making remarks about halal meat during a Religious Studies exam in June.
She was informed later that month by the exam board OCR that she had committed a “malpractise offence” and the punishment was “disqualification from the whole qualification due to obscene racial comments being made throughout an exam paper”.
But the disqualification was subsequently overturned when it transpired that such comments were nothing more than Miss Ward, a strict vegetarian, expressing her distaste for halal butchers.
Mrs Ward and her husband contacted their daughter’s headmaster, who she said was “just as angry and shocked as we were” and promised to investigate what prompted the exam board’s intervention. Mrs Ward said “It just made me angry – the fact that you can’t even say anything like that and when asked a question in the exam, you can’t even express your feelings. Philosophy is all about debating and getting your opinion out. I can’t believe how pathetic it is. It was probably an over-zealous, over-righteous examiner”.
Appealing OCR’s original decision, Gildredge School wrote to the exam board, explaining that Miss Ward's comment in the exam "...which I find absolutely disgusting" relates to her being a vegetarian and finding halal butchers disgusting. He explained that the reference was not made in relation to Muslims, and that there are no other comments made in the paper that could be construed as racist.
Upholding the appeal, the exam board later apologised for the “upset and stress” they caused to Miss Ward and accepted that their original letter “describing the frequency and severity of the comments was inaccurate”.
But what if the school and parents hadn't insisted on an appeal? That stigma would have clung to this girl for years. And if she hadn't been vegetarian and better able to justify her disgust for animal slaughter in general (PC and eco friendly) rather than the Halal method v the humane method?
I am still uncertain as to which race Islam is... I understood it to be a religion.
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