William Eichler 27 January 2017

Campaigners call for ‘failing’ Prevent duty to be scrapped after discrimination case

Campaigners call for ‘failing’ Prevent duty to be scrapped after discrimination case

A civil liberties group has demanded the ‘failing’ Prevent duty be scrapped after education authority admits discriminating against a seven-year-old with a toy gun.

A Bedfordshire primary school called the police after two brothers – aged seven and five – were spotted playing with plastic toy guns.

The brothers were isolated from the other children and their mother was spoken to by the police.

The school was attempting to act in accordance with the Government’s Prevent duty, which imposes a statutory duty on health and education bodies to have ‘due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’.

Liberty, the civil liberties organisation, has taken legal action, arguing a white child would have been treated differently.

Central Bedfordshire Council Local Education Authority (LEA) has admitted the school discriminated against the children, and breached their rights to a private and family life, freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

Liberty is calling for the repeal of the statutory duty – as well as a full, independent review of the wider Prevent strategy, which has been condemned by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), campaigners, faith groups and cross-party MPs as divisive, discriminatory and counter-productive.

 
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