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Friday, 18 June 2021
Teacher suspended after showing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils during an RE lesson at West Yorkshire school refuses to return to work over fears for his life
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A teacher who was suspended after showing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils during an RE lesson has refused to return to work over fears for his life - despite being cleared of causing deliberate offence and told that he could have his job back.

He continues to remain in hiding with his family and has permanently left the housing association property they shared near Batley.The family have been rehoused at a secret location with not even close relatives being informed about where it is.

Two other members of staff who were also suspended by officials at Batley Grammar School, West Yorkshire have refused to return to the classroom after being reinstated, citing similar concerns that they could be attacked. It has resulted in the entire RE department, which was made up of the three teachers, being replaced by supply staff.

A source close to the teacher, who was head of RE at Batley Grammar School, told MailOnline that he had not ruled out the possibility of legal action if he is unable to reach a settlement with the school so that he can move on with his career and personal life.  'On paper, he's got his job back but returning to the school is not a possibility,' the source said. 'An inquiry might have cleared him, but it doesn't mean a thing because he doesn't feel safe teaching there and genuinely fears that he could be killed. His two colleagues feel exactly the same. The matter needs to be resolved so that they can have a decent future but if we don't get to that point soon, legal action is not out of the question.' 

A report published last month by the Batley Academy Trust, which runs the school, found that although it was not necessary for the teacher to use the material in question, they 'genuinely believed' using the image had educational purposes and did not mean to cause offence. But it added: 'Nevertheless, the Trust recognises that using the image did cause deep offence to a number of students, parents and members of our school community.'

It ruled that the teacher's suspension and the suspension of his two colleague should be lifted and they should be allowed to return to the classroom. The Middle Eastern press have taken this to mean that the Muslim cleric's complaints were vindicated.

A spokesperson for the NEU said: 'Personal employment details of individual members are not something for the NEU to discuss publicly, and we believe that our members want, need and deserve privacy.

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Posted on 06/18/2021 1:02 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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