Mother threatens to sue over teacher who called her son ‘monkey’ in front of class

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 My son has become withdrawn and now has no trust in teachers.”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…

More at: Mother threatens to sue over teacher who called her son ‘monkey’ in front of class


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.

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  1. StephenG41HR

    SchoolsImprove No there does not need to be evidence of racism. One hopes that the matter was at least formally investigated.

  2. Dr Wanda Wyporska

    Simple case of Public Sector Equality Duty here, which applies to schools and may have been breached if the student felt it was a racist comment. Humiliation also comes under harassment. And I have to question why you are assuming the teacher is not being racist?

  3. TW

    You can never be politically correct enough.  All speech and thought crime must be hunted down and eliminated.  No-one may be offended unless it is permitted by the Thought Police in a good cause.  It’s the right thing to do.

  4. LeoToAquarius

    SchoolsImprove It’s outrageous he did not know but her son and her need to grow up -have been called far worse in my life due to colour

Let us know what you think...