Schoolboy’s ‘terrorist house’ row ‘not about a spelling mistake’

The BBC is reporting that officials have denied claims a spelling error led to a 10-year-old Muslim boy, who wrote he lived in a “terrorist house”, being spoken to by police. 

The family of the pupil, who attends a Lancashire primary school, claim he meant he lived in a “terraced house”.

The boy was spoken to by Lancashire Police at his home the next day.

In a statement, police and the county council said it was “untrue to suggest that this situation was brought about by a simple spelling mistake”.

“The school and the police have acted responsibly and proportionately in looking into a number of potential concerns using a low-key, local approach,” it said.

“No concerns were identified and no further action was required by any agency.”

Teachers have been legally obliged to report any suspected extremist behaviour to police since July.

The boy’s family said they were left shocked by the 7 December incident and want both the school and police to apologise…

In order to protect the boy’s identity, the BBC is not naming his cousin, who said she initially thought it was all a “joke”.

“You can imagine it happening to a 30-year-old man, but not to a young child,” she said. “If the teacher had any concerns it should have been about his spelling. 

“They shouldn’t be putting a child through this. He’s now scared of writing, using his imagination.

“From what he says he wrote it because he was trying to write ‘terraced house’ and he misspelt it.”

Police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw criticised the BBC reporting of the issue and said it had not been treated as a terror incident.

Mr Grunshaw said that other worrying issues were raised in the boy’s school work – not just the “terrorist” house line – and these were “reported through the appropriate channels”.

“In the event there was no further action needed, but if the school and police had not acted then they would have been failing in their duty to respond to concerns…”

More at: Lancashire ‘terrorist house’ row ‘not a spelling mistake’


So it looks like this situation was a bit more complex than the initial media reportshave suggested, but it does perhaps still highlight the difficulties school face when deciding what they should be reporting to police under the 2015 Counter Terrorism and Security Act.

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  1. James Connolly

    I think we have gone too far intot he tunnel of ‘terrorism alert!’ that common sense does not prevail any more. What a shame, I feel for the boy, who has to go through the experience and list of grilling investigations, sadly it’s not the first. It looks very much like some of the actions in South Africa, where certain colour of skin gets you onto a black list! I wonder what would have happened if it was the same aged boy from a middle class white background. A giigglle and a alugh and forgotten. Terrorism scare gone too far..

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