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Petty school bureacrats wield too much power in the UK

November 23, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
This week the Littleton Green Community School in Callers Way, Huntington, South Stafforshire in the United Kingdom has served up a cautionary example of where we do not want to go as a country.

The London Telegraph obtained a letter sent to parents by the school principal, describing a planned field trip to a local university to look at religious artifacts and learn about other religions. She told the parents the kids would not actually be practicing those religions, just learning about them. So far, so good. But then the principal, Lynn Small, showed her true colors. Explaining that it is a legal requirement for all the children to learn about other cultures, she concluded the letter with this paragraph: "Refusal to allow your child to attend this trip will result in a Racial Discrimination note being attached to your child's education record, which will remain on this file throughout their school career ... All absences on this day will be investigated for their credibility and will only be sanctioned with a GP sick note."

I have no idea what it would mean for a child at this particular school to have the "Racial Discrimination note" in his permanent record. Would it hurt his chances of getting into a good university, perhaps? Would social workers be dispatched to his home to see if his parents are teaching him to be prejudiced? Based on what I have read in the London papers, I suspect both are distinct possibilities. Luckily, parents of the children complained and Small had to back down, according to a follow-up article in The Daily Mail.

The field trip itself doesn't sound harmful to me. Well-educated kids ought to learn about other cultures and religions and understand something about the world around them. But parents who object to a trip like this on religious grounds still ought to have the option of teaching their children as they see fit, without being threatened by petty bureaucrats.

Of course, the United States and the United Kingdom are different countries and most parents here would look with horror upon the letter written by the principal in the UK. We value our freedom too highly. But I do think there is a minority of educators in the United States who would like to emulate our British cousins. We should not allow those people free rein over our educational system.

The Telegraph story can be found at The Daily Mail article can be found at


Article Comments



Nov-24-13 7:51 PM

The dispute here involved whether the kids should go to a presentation on Islam. Race wasn't a factor. I do think a good education ought to include learning about other cultures and religions. The problem here was that the principal threatened parents.


Nov-24-13 2:56 PM

Marvin I think its good they publicize these things.. It seems many parents are content to put their kid on a bus to school every morning and not expect to attend that childs well being for the next 8 hours..

Many folks could care less what is going on at school as long as their kid is out of their hair for 8 hours..

Private schools are almost always Christian based.. Charter schools are almost always neighborhood based..

Not sure these schools are "Controlled by PC Leaders"


Nov-24-13 11:57 AM

This particular stupid thing made international news and took place at a state funded school in the UK. I thought it was interesting and also a cautionary lesson for schools here.


Nov-24-13 7:54 AM

What I want to know is with all the schools, why is there an apparently organized effort to find and publicize every stupid thing some person in a school does? Is it the plan to tear down public schools so people can get tax money to send their children to private schools? You never see anything done by a private or charter school even though they do such things too. In some cases maybe even more. I think why one school official doing something that was consequentially changed is important enough to send it all over the world and pretend it in some way reflects on other schools.


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