Teacher accused of assault on Islamic pupil

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A teacher is due to appear in court today accused of religiously aggravated assault because she allegedly removed a pupil's Islamic headscarf.

The woman, 42, allegedly asked the 15-year-old girl to remove the head scarf, the hijab, because it was not correct uniform at the 900-pupil Bretton Woods Community School in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

The school allows Muslim girls to wear a grey hijab but the teenager was allegedly wearing a black one with a jewel motif.

The girl told her parents and her father contacted police over the alleged assault. Police interviewed the girl and the teacher and submitted a file to Cambridgeshire Crown Prosecution Service relating to the alleged dispute on 26 March.

The teacher was summonsed to appear before Peterborough magistrates today.

John Gribble, the headteacher at the school, where nearly 40 per cent of the pupils come from ethnic minorities, said no complaint had been made to the school and the teacher had not been suspended because of it.

"[The complaint] was made directly to the police," he said. "The police have not provided us with very much information about what happened. We have followed due process and not engaged ourselves in the investigation.

"It was basically an incident about the correction of uniform. She was not wearing the correct uniform. She told a member of staff where the correct uniform was - it had been given to a friend. The correct hijab was collected and put on.

"We often find that children try not to wear school uniform and teachers have to then correct them. We were astonished when we were contacted by the police about this. It did come as a surprise to us."

The girl, a year 11 pupil who has not been named, is from a family of Pakistani origin. She was in year 10 at the time of the alleged assault. She is still a pupil at the school and is expected to take her GCSEs next year.

A spokesman for the local education authority confirmed that an allegation was being investigated. A spokeswoman said: "Peterborough City Council is aware that an allegation has been made against a teacher at Bretton Woods Community School. We have no further comment to make."