Schoolboy excluded for 'performing Nazi salute in class


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Sep 14, 2009
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A teenager was excluded from school after his teacher claimed that he had performed an act of racism by giving a Nazi salute in class, it was claimed today,,Ben Hayward, 14, was accused of making the racist hand gesture and clicking his heels while saying "Heil Hitler" to his unnamed teacher.
But the boy insisted he did not know he was being racist and was just stretching out his left arm to imitate his teacher's gesture as she attempted to keep students quiet outside the classroom before the performing arts class.
Despite denying saying the phrase or that he clicked his heels and claimed he was, officials from Meopham School, in Meopham, Kent, handed him a two-hour detention.
But the schoolboy and his parents refused to accept the punishment and demanded an investigation by the school, claiming the teacher was mistaken.
While the detention issued after the incident was postponed, officials later contacted his family to say Ben had to serve his punishment.Head teacher Matthew Munro admitted the school was prepared had decided to drop its claims that the incident was racist.
But last week, Ben returned from school and told his parents he had been in exclusion for the day. Ben's phone was confiscated, he was placed insolation and communication with other children was "severed".
Today, his father, Scott, 41, from Cuxton, Kent, said he now plans to lodge a complaint with the board of governors after the school failed to inform him why the punishment had "escalated".
He said the incident had left his wife, Robyn, 37 and his other teenage son, 17, who also attends the school, deeply upset. The couple also have a three year-old daughter.
"We asked the school to talk to the teacher as we thought she may have misjudged the incident as racist," said Mr Hayward, a director of a construction company.
"At most it could have been seen as undermining her authority but definitely not racist.
"If investigated properly with witness statements from the other 20 or so children there, it would show the teacher was mistaken."He added: ""It's been upsetting because Ben has been questioned again and again because we've not been getting answers from the school. They are keeping us in the dark. But we stick by our son.
"He was being silly and was just mucking about with his mates. There was nothing in it. He understands that he has done something wrong. We have been questioning him about it to make about what has happened.
"We are quite upset about this. We feel we have not been listened to. We did really like the school."
Mr Munro today defended the school's handling of the incident, which occurred in November last year.
"The standard procedure when students have an after school detention is if they miss it twice they will have a day of internal exclusion in our internal exclusion unit," he said.
"We had discussions with Mr and Mrs Hayward and we did agree we wouldn't categorise it as a racist incident but that it would be a serious incident and the punishment would stand.
"A racist incident is defined by perception of other people rather than the intention of the person who committed it and this is the point we tried to make."
He added: "The fact remains a teacher took great exception and perceived the incident as racist. However, as I said this was a point we were willing to re-categorise and that is where we left it.

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