Pupils suspended for giving Nazi salute to German teacher

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The Independent Online

Four pupils from a secondary school in Wales are to be suspended today after a German supply teacher was subjected to racist gestures and comments in a classroom.

The four, all aged 13, are said to have made a "Hitler salute" in class at Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales school in Cardiff on Friday.

The Rev Chris Hollowood, the headteacher, said he thought the incident may have been connected to comments by the Italian President, Silvio Berlusconi, to a German heckler at the European Parliament that he would make a good guard at a Nazi concentration camp. "It is quite out of character for anything like this to have happened at the school," he said. "I have to say - without condoning what they did - that I wonder whether there is any connection between it and what the President of Italy had to say. It does seem to be more than coincidence that it should happen within 24 hours of what he said."

The teacher, who comes from Germany, was taking a Welsh class at the time. She asked the school to take no further action against the pupils. But Mr Hollowood said: "The senior staff of the school considered this incident to be of sufficient seriousness to merit the exclusion of the pupils for one day ... We deeply regret this incident and any offence which has been caused to the teacher concerned."

The school is a 1,200-pupil comprehensive with a good reputation in the heart of Cardiff. Concern over relations between British and German youth has been expressed by the German ambassador, Thomas Matussek, who said there was too much emphasis on the war years in schools.

Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, has ordered a review of the curriculum after complaints from academics that pupils were spending too much time studying Nazi Germany in history lessons.

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