The headmistress at a primary school in a small town in England tried to order parents to send their children to a Nov. 27 workshop focused on Islam or else have the kids permanently labeled as racists for the rest of their academic careers.
On Wednesday, parents of children aged 8 to 11 received the stark warning in the form of a letter from Lynn Small, the headmistress at Littleton Green Community School in Huntington, Staffordshire — just over 20 miles from Birmingham.
The letter describes the field trip as part of a “statutory requirement” for kids “to learn about different cultures.”
“The workshop is at Staffordshire University and will give your child the opportunity to explore other religions,” Small pedantically explains. “Children will be looking at religious artefacts, similar to those that would be on display in a museum. They will not be partaking in any religious practices.”
Small then lays down the hammer for any parents who might be reticent about exposing their own kids to “other religions.”
“Refusal to allow your child to attend this trip will result in a Racial Discrimination note being attached to your child’s education record, which will remain on this file throughout their career.”
The headmistress also promises to investigate any absences closely “for their credibility.” She warns that anyone who skips the field trip had better produce a doctors’ note if they don’t want their kids tarred as racists for the next decade or so.
On top of all that, parents must pony up £5 (about $8) per kid for the Explore Islam trip.
The Daily Mail reports that parents in the Littleton Green Community School community aren’t very happy about Small’s attempts at intimidation.
“How dare they threaten to brand the children racist at such a young age?” asked Gillian Claridge indignantly. “It’s going to make them feel like little criminals.”
Stacy Waldron, the mother of an eight-year-old girl at the school, noted that her daughter would have nothing to do with any decision about going on the field trip.
“This is my choice, not hers,” Waldron told the Mail.
Local Parliament member Gavin Williamson agreed, calling the threat “bonkers.”
“The idea of attaching a ‘racial discrimination note’ to children’s education records saying it will remain on their file for the duration for their school career seems unfair, particularly when it is not the child’s decision whether or not he or she attends,” the MP told the Mail.
The story does end reasonably well. After the intense responses from parents, local government officials intervened and forced Small to apologize for her threatening letter. She has since written a second letter to parents kindly asking them to “disregard” the first missive, notes the Mail.