Teach­ers ‘scared’ to teach lessons on 9/11

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Camilla Turner

SCHOOLS are scared to teach chil­dren about the 9/11 at­tacks be­cause they fear a back­lash from Mus­lim par­ents, an ex­pert in counter-ex­trem­ism claims.

Ka­mal Hanif, who was ap­pointed by the Gov­ern­ment to turn around three schools at the heart of the “Tro­jan Horse” scan­dal, said that some teach­ers had a “mis­placed” con­cern that they will cause of­fence if they raise the sub­ject of 9/11 in the class­room.

He said par­tic­u­larly those who work in schools with a high pro­por­tion of Mus­lim stu­dents see it as a con­tentious topic and shy away from dis­cussing it.

“Teach­ers some­times have a fear that … if we teach about this we might get Mus­lim par­ents ob­ject­ing.”

Mr Hanif, ex­ec­u­tive prin­ci­pal of Waver­ley Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion, ad­vised the De­part­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion (DfE) on com­bat­ing counter-ex­trem­ism in schools. He said their fears had no ba­sis. “It is based on their stereo­typ­i­cal view of a com­mu­nity as op­posed to the re­al­ity. It is very mis­placed.”

Mr Hanif is a trustee for the ed­u­ca­tional char­ity Since 9/11, which pro­vides free teach­ing re­sources about the at­tacks and their af­ter­math. The re­sources are for sec­ondary school­child­ren, but the char­ity is de­vel­op­ing a ma­te­rial for pri­mary schools.

Sir Steve Lan­cashire, chief ex­ec­u­tive of a multi academy trust which is pi­lot­ing the ma­te­ri­als in its 55 pri­mary schools, said teach­ers do feel “un­com­fort­able” about the legacy of 9/11. “We need to ad­dress the ner­vous­ness of teach­ers to teach this kind of sub­ject,” he said. “Teach­ers don’t feel well equipped on facts – there are a lot of con­spir­acy the­o­ries; a lot of mis­in­for­ma­tion”.

Lord Nash, the schools min­is­ter, said teach­ing 9/11 and its af­ter­math at school was cru­cial to pre­vent chil­dren be­ing groomed by ex­trem­ists. “Our job is to en­sure that our chil­dren are ed­u­cated in school so that they are less likely to be rad­i­calised out­side of school,” he said.

He said that while some teach­ers are keen to have an “open dis­cus­sion” about it, oth­ers “don’t want to go there”.

He said: “I can un­der­stand why it is not easy but we do need to go there.”

Peter Rosen­gard, the founder of Since 9/11, said an “over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity” of teach­ers were in­ter­ested in teach­ing it to their stu­dents.

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