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£50K raised for RE teacher suspended over Prophet Muhammad cartoon

Nearly £50,000 is raised for teacher who was suspended after showing a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad to pupils during an RE lesson

  • Teacher suspended by Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire now in hiding
  • Hundreds gathered outside school in March after he showed ‘offensive’ image
  • The cartoon had previously been published by French magazine Charlie Hebdo
  • Fund set up for teacher on March 30 by Batley and Spen politician Paul Halloran 

Almost £50,000 has been raised for a teacher forced into in hiding after he received death threats for showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Batley Grammar School in March after an RE teacher showed pupils the ‘offensive’ image during a lesson on ‘controversial issues’.

It is understood the cartoon was one previously published by French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The Batley Grammar School teacher sparked fury by allegedly showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a RE lesson. Pictured: Protesters outside the school in March 

Following two days of protests the teacher was suspended and forced to flee his home with his partner and four children, under police protection, for the family’s safety.

Bosses at the school in West Yorkshire apologised and the teacher was reinstated after an internal investigation.

But it is understood he has not returned to work at the 980-pupil school and has fled the local area in fear of his life. 

Last month, MailOnline reported that two other members of staff who were also suspended by officials at Batley Grammar School, West Yorkshire have refused to return to the classroom after being reinstated, citing similar concerns that they could be attacked. 

The RE teacher was reinstated at Batley Grammar School in West Yorkshire following an internal investigation, but is understood to have fled the area after receiving death threats

Now around 2,000 supporters have made donations to the Go Fund Me online fund, with contributions ranging from just a few pounds to a staggering £5,000.

The fund was set up on March 30 by Batley and Spen politician Paul Halloran, who stood for election in the constituency in 2019.

Posting on social media, Mr Halloran said: ‘Nearly £50,000 raised so far.

‘Thank you to everyone who has donated and equally as important, thank you to all of you that have publicly supported this fine young man and his family.’

In a post on the Go Fund Me page, Mr Halloran added: ‘Many of you will have seen the events over the past few months concerning the teacher in Batley.

‘This is not a platform to discuss the whys and wherefores. This page is set up to appeal to the wider public to offer your support.

‘Contrary to some public statements, the teacher is not back at work and is still in hiding. Support will be needed in numerous areas.

‘None of us can ascertain what costs may have to be met by the teacher, be they relocation, employment, legal or a multitude of other issues.’

Batley Multi Academy Trust, which runs the school, commissioned a report which found the issues could be resolved with ‘additional management guidance and training’.

They added that the suspension has now been lifted and the teacher will return to work.

The trust apologised for any ‘distress caused’ by the controversial image and accepted the findings of the investigation.

Following two days of protests (pictured) in March, the teacher was suspended and forced to flee his home with his partner and four children, under police protection

A spokesperson for the trust said: ‘We accept the recommendations of the independent expert investigation and will put them into practice immediately.

‘The investigation recommends that the issues raised can be effectively dealt with through additional management guidance and training.

‘The findings are clear, that the teaching staff involved did not use the resource with the intention of causing offence, and that the topics covered by the lesson could have been effectively addressed in other ways.

‘In the light of those conclusions, the suspensions put in place while the investigation was underway will now be lifted.

‘The trust deeply regrets the distress caused by the use of this resource, and we would like to thank all of the Trust’s stakeholders for their contributions and support during what has been a difficult period.

‘All those in our trust’s family – whether parents, staff or members of our wider school community – want us to continue to provide a high-quality education so that our students aspire to excellence and achieve their full potential, both in their academic studies and personal development.’

The investigation found that the school’s religious studies class ‘follow the national guidance’ but noted that difficult issues such as blasphemy were included in the curriculum.

The image in question was used as part of the ‘controversial issues’ topic in the religious studies scheme of work for year nine, the report said.

A spokesperson added: ‘The trust fully recognises the level of concern this has caused.

‘The independent investigation has concluded and the Trust has accepted that the teaching staff who developed and delivered the lesson genuinely believed that using the image had an educational purpose and benefit, and that it was not used with the intention of causing offence.’

Following the review, the trust found the school should take more careful account of various factors including ‘the need to always promote fundamental humanitarian and British values’. 

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