A mother in the UK is furious after her son’s school asked her to sign a slip acknowledging her son made a racist remark after it interpreted an inquiry the boy made on the playground as a “racist incident.”
Hayley White, 29, says she was called to her son’s school in Hull after he apparently asked a classmate, “Are you brown because you come from Africa?” The school believes the question by seven-year-old Elliot Dearlove wasn’t innocent.
“When I arrived at the school and asked Elliott what had happened, he became extremely upset,” White said, according to the Daily Mail.
“He kept saying to me, ‘I was just asking a question. I didn’t mean it to be nasty’ and he was extremely distressed by it all.”
White said she was asked to read a copy of the school’s zero-tolerance policy on racism, then told to sign a sheet of paper declaring her son was guilty of such an act.
“I was told I would have to sign a form acknowledging my son had made a racist remark which would be submitted to the local education authority for further investigation,” she said.
“I refused to sign it and I told the teacher in no way did I agree the comment was racist. My son is inquisitive. He always likes to ask questions, but that doesn’t make him a racist.”
The local city council, however, is standing by the school. “There is a statutory duty to report any incident that is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
White is now trying to get her son transferred out of the school.
The local member of parliament, Karl Turner, believes that “common sense” should make it obvious the boy wasn’t being racist.
“[H]aving spoken to Hayley, I’m satisfied that her seven-year-old son, Elliott, was not being racist in his remarks but just inquisitive,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“It seems the matter has been taken out of all proportion and common sense seems to have gone completely out of the window.”
Common sense, though, doesn’t seem to reign when it comes to allegedly racist incidents in UK schools. The Daily Mail reports that, just last year alone, more than 20,000 students aged 11 or younger were reported for hate crimes, which included such acts as using the word “gaylord.”
Read the full story at the Daily Mail.