Inquiry launched to establish lessons learned after Batley school protest

Authorities ask panel to look into incident that caused offence to Muslim pupils

BATLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 26: People gather outside the gates of Batley Grammar School, after a teacher was suspended for showing an image of the Prophet Muhammad in class, on March 26, 2021 in Batley, England. A few dozen people, including parents of students, gathered outside the school gates yesterday morning to protest the teacher's actions. The school issued an apology yesterday and said the teacher had been suspended. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Powered by automated translation

An independent inquiry has been established into an incident in a British classroom that led to protests by parents of Muslim pupils in the Yorkshire town of Batley.

The Batley Multi Academy school trust said it understood that answers to what happened and how the incident was handled by the authorities were wanted "as soon as possible".

A statement said the panel would start its two-week investigation in April.

A teacher in a religious studies session used an image from a series of cartoons first published in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The teacher was suspended following school gate protests over his actions a week ago.

"The school unequivocally apologises for using a totally inappropriate image in a recent religious studies lesson," school principal Gary Kibble said in the wake of the protests.

"The member of staff has also related their most sincere apologies.

"It's important for children to learn about faiths and beliefs. This must be done in a respectful, sensitive way."

The school on Tuesday said that appropriate lessons need to be learned from the incident.

"We believe the right way forward is for an independent investigation," a statement said.

French schoolteacher Samuel Paty was killed by an extremist last October in the Paris suburbs after showing his students Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as part of a lesson on free speech.