Outrage as U.K.School Calls Police after Pupil Looks at Ukip Website in Class*
By Nick Gutteridge
A schoolboy was hauled out of class and interrogated by detectives after politically correct teachers reported him to the POLICE for visiting the UKIP website.
Teenager Joe Taylor was flagged up for political extremism by the deputy head after he used a school computer to click on the party’s website.
The 15-year-old went online earlier this week to research immigration following a classroom discussion on the subject, logging on with his school username.
But he was stunned when teachers subsequently reported him to the police, claiming he had raised welfare concerns by visiting “politically incorrect websites”.
Amazingly he was referred to a specialist team whose usual brief is preventing vulnerable youngsters from being groomed and indoctrinated by Islamic State (ISIS) jihadis.
The youngster, who attends Wildern School in Hedge End, Southampton, was then hauled out of class on Wednesday morning so that he could be quizzed by an officer from Hampshire police.
During the interrogation the detective reportedly accused the youngster of being a UKIP “activist” and said it was “not right” that he had visited the party’s website.
Police said the contact with the teen was not solely sparked by accessing the Ukip website.
UKIP said the revelations were “astonishing” and provided further evidence of a “pervasive left-wing culture” amongst public sector workers.
The party’s candidate for Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) also raised concerns that teachers and officers may be carrying out an “anti-UKIP campaign” to influence young people.
The shocking intervention only came to light after Joe’s dad Mick contacted Express.co.uk to express his outrage at the treatment of his son, who spends much of his spare time caring for his nan who suffered a stroke six months ago.
He revealed that he received a phone call from teachers at Wildern on Monday morning telling him the police had been contacted over his son’s internet use, and asking him to attend a meeting with officers on Wednesday.
When he arrived he was informed that Joe’s access to the UKIP website had flagged up safety concerns, which had been passed on to the police’s specialist radicalisation team.
Mr Taylor, 52, said:
“On Monday I receive a phone call and they said he’s been looking at some politically incorrect material at school.
“My first reaction was to ask them if it was porn, but they said no – it was the UKIP website. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
“We went into reception with the police officer and their first question to my son was ‘why are you a political activist for UKIP’?
“I asked why are you worried about the UKIP website and they said ‘well, we don’t think it’s right’.”
Mr Taylor said his son had also accessed the English Defence League (EDL) website before Christmas after the pair watched a BBC documentary by former leader Tommy Robinson.
The UKIP voter said he regularly discusses political issues including immigration and the E.U. with his son, but that he is free to form his own world opinions.
He said: “I was furious that they flagged him for looking at the UKIP website. I think it’s outrageous really.
“They tried to call him a political activist for UKIP and they asked him ‘why do you believe that’s the way forward?’
“I’m a UKIP supporter and I said ‘what’s wrong with that?’ They really quizzed him over UKIP.
“They are almost like the thought police. It’s shocking really.”
He added: “They were trying to quiz him on all this stuff, whether he’d gone to Luton [for the EDL march in November 2014].
“They said we have to do it, you could be being groomed by the EDL.
Mr Taylor said the shocking revelations raise serious questions over how many people with mainstream political views are being monitored over supposed extremism.
He said: “I just find it in this day and age that you’re being monitored, so are we in a free society? That’s what it comes down to.
“The main thing I’m very angry about is people are being monitored in school. I can understand if it’s ISIS, but when someone’s just looking at the UKIP website it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Responding to the revelations, UKIP’s education spokeswoman Louise Bours said:
“It is absolutely outrageous that a school is trying to censor its students in this way. Teachers are supposed to promote learning and understanding, not narrow their pupils’ world view and stifle debate.
“I find it astonishing beyond belief that officers saw fit to interview a child who was simply trying to complete his homework and I am deeply disturbed that both the police and this school appear to consider UKIP an extremist organisation.
“UKIP is Britain’s third largest political party and was backed by four million voters at the last General Election. This is just another shocking example of the pervasive left-wing culture which has infected large parts of Britain’s public service.”
UKIP’s Hampshire PCC candidate Roy Swales added:
“This is a worrying incident. I can only assume that the police and some educators are engaged in an anti UKIP campaign to prevent young people looking at our party.
“As a candidate for Police Commissioner I am troubled that the police may be covertly attempting to influence the election in May.”
In a statement head teacher Marie-Louise Litton said:
“Following an incident Wildern School contacted 101 for advice and were referred to the specialist team who made the decision to arrange a meeting with the student and their parent in school on 24th February. No further action was proposed.”
The Department for Education said that assessing what material pupils are accessing online is largely a matter for individual schools.
This month the department has finished carrying out a consultation with schools and parents about how to keep children safe – including issues around Internet access – with the results now being assessed.
Hampshire Police said they had informal contact with the pupil after concerns were raised about his internet usage.
A spokeswoman said the contact was not solely down to accessing the Ukip website but said that may have come up during the discussion.
Hampshire Police and the school were happy that no formal action needed to be taken.