Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/863/21052
Terrorism and classroom spying
The Tunisian massacre of tourists has led, unfortunately, to a knee-jerk reaction from the Tory government to try and stop 'the radicalisation of young Muslims'.
Already, under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015, the Tories have decided that every teacher has to report on anything that might suggest "radicalisation" of the students they teach. Teachers are, in effect, being asked to spy on their students. Not to report a suspicion is potentially a criminal offence.
No teacher supports the divisive anti-working class policies of Islamic State or any related group or individual, but we will resist what is a counterproductive government policy.
Irrespective of this legislation, teachers have a responsibility to safeguard their students. This includes picking up signs of abuse. One of the most important ways of doing this is through building relationships of trust.
However, students won't feel comfortable talking to a teacher about an issue if they feel that their conversation will be reported to the police or security services.
The Tories are also promoting so-called "British" values of "democracy", "reasonableness" and "fair play" as part of the schools' curriculum. But for a significant number of young people, life in Tory Britain is anything but fair and reasonable!
Students and teachers have to feel confident in expressing their views. If they feel that a challenge to something "British" might be interpreted as support for Islamic fundamentalism, they will keep quiet. This is likely to lead to more young people actively looking for 'radical' solutions, including the false ideology of Islamic State and the far-right.
Also, as the majority of Muslims are of African, Asian or of Middle Eastern origin, teachers will have to view black and Asian students differently from white pupils. In effect, this is a racist policy.
The new law is presented as a measure to stop Islamic extremism and the far right. But, in Hull, the police made a point of interviewing the young students who organised an anti-austerity protest on 20 June. They found out which college they attended and without a formal appointment turned up to investigate the students' intentions.
Will teachers be expected to report young people who go on the Youth Fight for Jobs budget protests on 8 July? Is the next step for pupils to report on their teachers for holding radical views?
This is a dangerous piece of legislation which the teacher unions must fight.
In The Socialist 8 July 2015:
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