The Evening Standard is reporting that a mother is threatening legal action after a teacher labelled her black 13-year-old son “a monkey” in front of classmates.
Shantelle Addison, 36, claims son Raheem was “humiliated” by science teacher Marcel van den Heuvel at Twickenham Academy. She made a formal complaint against him to the school as well as contacting police, who arrested and questioned him.
But Crown Prosecution Service lawyers decided there would not be a realistic prospect of conviction and the case was dropped…
“This sort of thing should not be taking place in the 21st century. My son has become withdrawn and now has no trust in teachers.” Mrs Addison said “racial bullying” occurred when her son, now 14, showed his teacher his black winter gloves, which Mr van den Heuvel apparently said made him “look like a monkey”.
Mrs Addison requested a review of the CPS decision not to prosecute, and in a letter last October was told by one of its lawyers that although Mr van den Heuvel accepted telling Raheem “you look like a monkey with gloves on”, he “stated he did not have a clue that a monkey was in any way a racist word”.
The lawyer added that the teacher’s language showed “naivety and lack of judgment” but it was not clear if he meant “hostility to your son based on his ethnic or national origin.”
Twickenham Academy principal Tracy Ward said the allegations were “thoroughly investigated immediately and the teacher is no longer with us”.The school said it does “not tolerate racist or any other form of discrimination.” Mr van den Heuvel declined to comment…
Let’s say the teacher had genuinely had no intention or expectation of the comment causing offence or being racist – does that matter if Raheem felt humiliated?
And what should the appropriate sanction be in a situation like this?
Please give us your insight and opinion in the comments below or via twitter.
Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or just someone who cares about education and has something to get off your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.
We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!