Meopham School pupil accused of Nazi salute in racism row

News Shopper: Scott Hayward with his son, Ben. Scott Hayward with his son, Ben.

A TEENAGER was last week excluded from a Meopham school after a teacher accused him of performing a Nazi salute in class.

Fourteen-year-old Ben Hayward is said to have made the hand gesture while clicking his heels and saying ‘Heil Hitler’at Meopham School, in Wrotham Road.

But Ben, who denies using the phrase and clicking his heels, says he was unaware he was being ‘racist’ when he stretched out his left arm to imitate his teacher, who was using her hand to signal for the class to be quiet.

Following the incident in November last year, Ben was punished with a two-hour after school detention.

However Ben and his parents refused to accept the punishment and demanded a meeting with the school in a bid to have the incident thoroughly investigated.

His father Scott Hayward told News Shopper: "We asked the school to talk to the teacher as we thought she may have misjudged the incident as racist.

"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."

Although the detention was postponed, headteacher Matthew Munro contacted the Haywards in January to say Ben must serve the punishment but the school was prepared to no longer describe the incident as racist.

The 41-year-old added: "We refused as we said all along we wouldn’t accept a change of accusation, especially after accusing our son of racism without further investigation and causing so much upset to all our family."

On Friday, Ben came home from school and told his parents he had been in exclusion for the day.

His father says Ben had his phone taken away from him and "all communication with the other children was severed."

Mr Hayward, who lives with Ben in Cuxton, added: "It’s been upsetting because Ben has been questioned again and again because we’ve not been getting answers from the school.

"But we stick by our son."

Mr Hayward says he is now going to lodge a complaint with the board of governors.

Meopham School headteacher Matthew Munro said:

"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.

"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.

"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."

Comments (6)

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10:24am Wed 6 Feb 13

Barra boy says...

Used to be called the welling wave on the net sort of jokey thing aint it , but what about faulty towers on gold tv are they going to ban that episode were basil does the goose step and welling wave then haha storm in a tea cup the school should take a chill pill and concentrate on teaching these kids instead of ducking out of teaching to fill a load of politically correct forms out! haha
Used to be called the welling wave on the net sort of jokey thing aint it , but what about faulty towers on gold tv are they going to ban that episode were basil does the goose step and welling wave then haha storm in a tea cup the school should take a chill pill and concentrate on teaching these kids instead of ducking out of teaching to fill a load of politically correct forms out! haha Barra boy
  • Score: 1

11:48am Wed 6 Feb 13

the wall says...

"The fact remains a teacher took great exception and perceived the incident as racist........The teacher is an idiot and has over reacted. How the hell is that racist……..Oh hang on is the teacher German/Austrian?

The Adar salute was adopted by the Italian Fascist Party, then in around 1923, some members of the Nazi Party were using the rigid, outstretched right arm salute to greet their leader.

Racist no, insensitive yes.
"The fact remains a teacher took great exception and perceived the incident as racist........The teacher is an idiot and has over reacted. How the hell is that racist……..Oh hang on is the teacher German/Austrian? The Adar salute was adopted by the Italian Fascist Party, then in around 1923, some members of the Nazi Party were using the rigid, outstretched right arm salute to greet their leader. Racist no, insensitive yes. the wall
  • Score: 1

4:24pm Wed 6 Feb 13

nearly right all the time says...

The trouble is an allegation like that can "follow " some one a around.

People have to be sure that offence was
meant before taking action.

Seems like the school may have overeacted.

PS DO YOUR TIE UP PROPERLY
YOUNG MAN!
The trouble is an allegation like that can "follow " some one a around. People have to be sure that offence was meant before taking action. Seems like the school may have overeacted. PS DO YOUR TIE UP PROPERLY YOUNG MAN! nearly right all the time
  • Score: 1

5:13pm Wed 6 Feb 13

clintsteed says...

Boys do silly things and have always done so. The school have been right to deal with his behaviour by way of punishment. They are right not to report it as racist, but it is insensitive and silly. Perhaps Dad should spend more time getting his son to behave properly.
Boys do silly things and have always done so. The school have been right to deal with his behaviour by way of punishment. They are right not to report it as racist, but it is insensitive and silly. Perhaps Dad should spend more time getting his son to behave properly. clintsteed
  • Score: -3

10:54pm Wed 6 Feb 13

Seabass2814 says...

If the salute with the heels clicking together was done in the street and anyone perceived it as racist then the person would be getting nicked and the courts do not treat these things as trivial.
Teahcers have got better things to do like teach but if kids act up and mess around and are disrespectful then they need to be dealt with because clearly the parents are not doing their job and its left to teachers to teach some basic manners and respect because the next step for kids like that who are not challenged about their behaviour is to get nicked for silly little things like spitting in people's faces and stabbing people at bus stops over looking at someone the wrong way.
Kids do silly things but there has to be some consequence for their actions it's the way we all learnt.
If the salute with the heels clicking together was done in the street and anyone perceived it as racist then the person would be getting nicked and the courts do not treat these things as trivial. Teahcers have got better things to do like teach but if kids act up and mess around and are disrespectful then they need to be dealt with because clearly the parents are not doing their job and its left to teachers to teach some basic manners and respect because the next step for kids like that who are not challenged about their behaviour is to get nicked for silly little things like spitting in people's faces and stabbing people at bus stops over looking at someone the wrong way. Kids do silly things but there has to be some consequence for their actions it's the way we all learnt. Seabass2814
  • Score: 2

12:04pm Thu 7 Feb 13

Knarkybadger says...

A ginger Nazi, whatever next. At the 14 it knew it was wrong. The father should ashamed but I suspect he's proud.
A ginger Nazi, whatever next. At the 14 it knew it was wrong. The father should ashamed but I suspect he's proud. Knarkybadger
  • Score: 0

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