Here’s a bizarre story from the Daily Mail about a school in Manchester, England: A 14-year-old girl was taken in by the police for questioning on charges of racism because she asked her science teacher to group her with English-speaking students. Codie Stott had been assigned to work with five students, most of them new immigrants from Pakistan who spoke no English. The other students began talking in Urdu. Codie asked to change groups. It was just “common sense,” she says. She couldn’t understand the discussion. Accusing her of racism, the teacher reported her to the police, who came for her a week later.
They told me to take my laces out of my shoes and remove my jewellery, and I had my fingerprints and photograph taken,” said Codie. “It was awful.”
After questioning on suspicion of committing a section five racial public order offence, her mother Nicola says she was placed in a bare cell for three-and-a-half hours then released without charge.
“Insiders” say several of the students in Codie’s group didn’t speak English but also say she later referred to them as “blacks.” She denies she said that.
Last April a ten-year-old boy in the same school district was charged with racism for allegedly calling a mixed-race classmate a ‘Paki’ and ‘Bin Laden’ in a playground argument.
When the case came before District Judge Jonathan Finestein he said the decision to prosecute showed “how stupid the whole system is getting.”
I very much doubt that criminalizing rudeness — and common sense — will improve the racial climate in Britain.
Update: A Muslim teacher in Yorkshire was suspended for refusing to remove her veil in class. Her elementary students said they couldn’t understand her without seeing her lips move. The Muslim Council pointed out that Muslim women are not required to wear veils or even head scarves in the presence of children.
Via The Ed Wonks.