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Teacher struck off for describing Islam as ‘cancer of the world’

24th Apr 2020

Nadine Osman

A teacher in Somerset has been banned from teaching in England on March 18 after a series of Islamophobic comments were found on his Facebook page. Philip Turner, 53, wrote ‘Islam is the cancer of the world. Cut it out’ online and shared some of his “unacceptable” views in the classroom, a teaching conduct panel heard.

Turner was handed a Prohibition Order by the Department for Education who decided he had shown an “unacceptable lack of tolerance”, due to “sustained offensive posts promoting racial and religious hatred.”

Turner was sacked by Mary Elton Primary School in Clevedon in January 2019 after parents first raised concerns about his views the previous September.

An investigation by the school – which employed Turner from 2010 – discovered he described Islam as a ‘vile vile vile religion’ on Facebook and shared a posted article which contained photos of Asian men, with the comment, ‘More child rapists – wonder what they have in common?’ He also posted a comment claiming, ‘If I voted or endorsed a right-wing political party, I would lose my job. UKIP is as far as I can go and that would be pushing it for some liberal loonies.’

The Teaching Regulation Agency’s Professional Conduct Panel heard evidence gathered by the school about the 2017 Facebook posts. The school also alleged he had presented some “unacceptable” views and discussed “inappropriate” topics in class with Year 5 and Year 6 pupils – leading at least one pupil to suggest “if a person of an ethnic minority is unhappy

with a country’s policies they should ‘leave the country.’”
Recommending Turner be banned from teaching, the panel ruled, “Given the serious findings of statements demonstrating a lack of respect and/or tolerance made on Facebook and similarly inappropriate comments made towards year 5/6 pupils.

“Public confidence in the profession could be seriously weakened if conduct such as that found against Mr Turner were not treated with the utmost seriousness. Mr Turner failed to show any insight whatsoever into his actions or the impact that his views could have on pupils and the manner in which the public view the teaching profession. He showed no remorse throughout the process.”

Concluding that “the lack of insight means that there is considerable risk of the repetition of this behaviour, and this puts at risk the future wellbeing of pupils and the future reputation of the teaching profession.”

Turner – who did not admit to any of the school’s allegations and did not attend the hearing – has the right to appeal the prohibition order to the High Court.

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