It's a tragic truth that racism is an epidemic in our society. The deplorable idea that a person is somehow superior or inferior due to the color of their skin is something that has been around seen the dawn of time, and something that can regretfully still be found anywhere at any time. Nonetheless, the one part of society that one would most hope discrimination would be kept out of is schools.
When we put our children in the care of others, we hope and pray that those responsible for educating the next generation teach them love and acceptance above all other things. However, sadly this isn't always the case.
It certainly doesn't appear to have been the case at Oundle School in Northamptonshire, England where a teacher has been fired for continually using racist language about black and minority students. Philip Pedley, 60, has been banned from the teaching profession indefinitely for making offensive and upsetting remarks to teachers and students.
The history teacher, who had taught at the private school for 37 years, reportedly told colleagues that he did not "want to teach blackies and chinkies" in his classroom. In addition, he allegedly told one student "Your father must have come over, stealing our jobs, has he got the ship back?", as well as asking another "Oh you’re from [redacted]. Does your dad do boom boom?"
Pedley, who was also found to have told a schoolchild that he was "pretty good for a foreigner", was found guilty of misconduct by a professional conduct panel, which heard that many children at the £36,000-a-year school considered his comments to be racist.
His behaviour was initially not deemed malicious or intended to cause harm by the panel, which had concluded that he should not be banned from teaching because of “the overwhelming evidence in support of [Pedley’s] ability as an excellent teacher”.
Reportedly the history teacher had shown remorse and, despite his language, it was accepted he was not racist with some finding his comments a misguided attempt at humour and the panel naming it "entirely misjudged, inappropriate and outdated."
Furthermore, more than 50 pages of statements and letters had been provided that displayed “overwhelming” backing from “colleagues, parents, former and current pupils from a range of ethnicities and backgrounds”. However, the panel's recommendation was later overruled by the education secretary, Damian Hinds.
The discriminatory language he used was the not the only thing that led to Pedley's punishment. In addition, Pedley, was found to have used swear words in the classroom and breached the school’s code of conduct by consuming alcohol in the presence of pupils while on duty during a school trip to Budapest and Vienna.
Furthermore, he also purchased alcohol for an underage student and allowed students to drink excessive amounts of alcohol while on the trip. Allegedly, some of his students were “upset and embarrassed” by him in this instance.
In response to the allegations, Pedley told the panel he never intended to offend or upset his pupils and that if he had, he regretted it “enormously”. He also said that while he had used racist language, he was not racist and “abhors racism”.