I've been a lazy-arse blogger lately, so I'm sure I'm not breaking the news to anyone that BNP members are not to be banned from teaching in schools. I have to admit to being a bit conflicted about this. I hate the BNP, but in general also hate the idea that someone could lose their job because of their beliefs, especially if they are generally quiet about those beliefs. To give an example, I honestly don't believe that Simone Clarke should be chucked out of any given ballet production due to her BNP membership. Boycott her performances, sure, maybe picket outside because any opportunity to get the anti-fascist message out is good, and if the ballet company want shot of her because she's bringing them adverse publicity I will have no sympathy for her, but it isn't like she's getting much of a chance to preach racist crap from the stage.
A school, however, is a very different scenario. Teachers can exert a whole lot of influence on young people. And BNP members are not known for keeping their gobs shut about their beliefs. Even if they do, there's the deeper issue of merely holding a racist attitude in a classroom - if a teacher objects, even without speaking these objections out loud, to the presence of black, Asian, or any immigrant children in a class or to friendships (or more than that, if we're talking high school) between children of different races, it is far from impossible that the children will pick up on the bad vibes anyway.
I hope John Dunford is right when he claims that 'Teacher racism is rare', but to be honest any racist incident in a school classroom is unacceptable, even between the children themselves, and especially if instigated by the teacher. And, as above, there's the question of attitude and unspoken racism and the effect that could have.
Oh, and there's also the small matter of giving the BNP respectibility, which while a bit of a side issue in this case is certainly never a good thing...
2 weeks ago