Russell Myers, Daily Mail (London), February 19, 2012
The mother of a seven-year-old boy was told to sign a school form admitting he was racist after he asked another pupil about the colour of his skin.
Elliott Dearlove had asked a five-year-old boy in the playground whether he was ‘brown because he was from Africa’.
His mother, Hayley White, 29, said she received a phone call last month to say her son had been at the centre of a ‘racist incident’.
She was then summoned to a meeting with Elliott, his teacher and the deputy head of Griffin Primary School in Hull.
Ms White, an NHS healthcare assistant, said: ‘When I arrived at the school and asked Elliott what had happened, he became extremely upset.
‘He kept saying to me, “I was just asking a question. I didn’t mean it to be nasty” and he was extremely distressed by it all.’
Ms White claimed she was asked at the meeting to read a copy of the school rules and in particular its zero-tolerance policy on racism.
‘I was told I would have to sign a form acknowledging my son had made a racist remark which would be submitted to the local education authority for further investigation,’ she said.
‘I refused to sign it and I told the teacher in no way did I agree the comment was racist. My son is inquisitive. He always likes to ask questions, but that doesn’t make him a racist.’
The school had launched an investigation after the younger boy told his mother about Elliott’s comment and she complained.
Ms White, who lives in a three-bedroom house with her son and nine-year-old daughter Olivia, has now applied to have Elliott moved from the school.
She claimed she was told there were places at nearby Thanet Primary School, but the council informed her last Friday that this was not the case.
‘I am going to appeal against this decision because I think Elliott is being victimised,’ she said.
Karl Turner, Labour MP for Kingston upon Hull East, last night insisted that the school and Hull City Council had a statutory duty to take racism seriously.
‘However, having spoken to Hayley, I’m satisfied that her seven-year-old son, Elliott, was not being racist in his remarks but just inquisitive,’ he said.
‘It seems the matter has been taken out of all proportion and common sense seems to have gone completely out of the window.’
In a statement, Griffin Primary head teacher Janet Adamson said the school had acted ‘in accordance with the council’s guidance for schools on the reporting of racist incidents’.
Vanessa Harvey-Samuel, head of localities and learning at Hull City Council, said: ‘There is a statutory duty to report any incident that is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.’
Last year, it was revealed that teachers are branding thousands of children racist or homophobic following playground squabbles.
More than 20,000 pupils aged 11 or younger were put on record for so-called hate crimes such as using the word ‘gaylord’.