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Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

For discussions related to education and educational institutions.

Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

Yes
8
32%
No
16
64%
Other
1
4%
 
Total votes: 25

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coledavis
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#41 Post by coledavis » June 21st, 2009, 3:17 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

I think it is important to separate what one doesn't like from what really needs to be banned. This is a problem which many governments haven't really addressed with clarity, in my opinion.
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getreal
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#42 Post by getreal » June 21st, 2009, 11:56 pm

mewi wrote:Not banned from the job, but banned from teaching their extremist views to children, and if they violate that ban, they will then be banned from their job. Edit: By the way, I have no idea on the laws in the UK, so I apologize if my statement is redundant. *lives in the United States*
That would apply to any teacher, surely?
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

Hundovir
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#43 Post by Hundovir » June 22nd, 2009, 8:36 am

lewist wrote:An institution does not have views, nor should it.
In my experience, schools, as institutions, certainly do "have views". I remember reading through pages and pages of documents on the school's policies on racism, multiculturalism, sexism...

Or are you saying that only opinions that differ from the mainstream liberal consensus are "views"? :wink:

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Alan H
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#44 Post by Alan H » June 22nd, 2009, 11:35 am

In today's Guardian:
********************************************************************************
Ed Balls considers ban on BNP teachers | Politics | The Guardian
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009 ... s-ed-balls
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ed Balls considers ban on BNP teachers

* Polly Curtis, education editor
* guardian.co.uk, Sunday 21 June 2009 21.54 BST
* Article history

Ed Balls

Ed Balls, the school's secretary. Photograph: Martin Argles

The government is investigating a possible ban on British National party members working as teachers in schools in a move that could challenge the legitimacy of the far-right party.

A source close to the schools secretary, Ed Balls, said there had been several meetings on the issue with teaching unions which are lobbying for a change in teachers' contracts to prevent them from working if they are members of far-right groups including the BNP. The issue was being "actively looked at", the source said.

It comes after it emerged that the General Teaching Council for England (GTC), which registers teachers to work in state schools, had rejected appeals to ban BNP members. Lawyers warned the council it could be accused of discriminating against members of the far-right party if it refused to register them.

Five members of the council's own governing body wrote to the Guardian on Saturday to appeal for a national debate on the issue. They claimed the GTC was "hiding" behind legal advice to avoid banning the BNP from registering as teachers.

Chris Keates, the general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, confirmed she had held several discussions with Balls about the possibility of a ban and had called for a change to teachers' contracts to prevent BNP members from teaching.

The source close to Balls said the issue was being re-examined in the light of the election to the European parliament of two BNP members, including party leader Nick Griffin, who has been convicted of inciting racial hatred.

The GTC was advised by lawyers that it would be discriminatory to ban members of a lawful political party. It was also told that if it declared any views on the BNP, it could be accused of lacking impartiality in any subsequent disciplinary hearings involving teachers in the far-right party.

A BNP membership list leaked last year included the names of 15 teachers, four nurses and one prison officer as well as 17 former police officers and 16 members of the armed forces.

Members of the BNP, National Front and Combat 18 are banned from joining the police or becoming prison officers.

In the letter to the Guardian, the five GTC members argued that legislation required everyone working in schools to "promote good race relations and community cohesion", which would be incompatible with some views held by the BNP. The party supports voluntary repatriation of non-white citizens.

[Retrieved: Mon Jun 22 2009 11:34:16 GMT+0100 (GMT Daylight Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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getreal
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#45 Post by getreal » June 22nd, 2009, 11:35 am

Hundovir wrote:
lewist wrote:An institution does not have views, nor should it.
In my experience, schools, as institutions, certainly do "have views". I remember reading through pages and pages of documents on the school's policies on racism, multiculturalism, sexism...

Or are you saying that only opinions that differ from the mainstream liberal consensus are "views"? :wink:
I would argue with that, Hundovir, as here, in Scotland, each school does not devise their own set of "views". These are dictated by the local and central government Even where the school had flexibility to devise their own rules (and this would be on relativly trivial matters) they must reflect local and national government positions.
(maybe that's why we are sometimes called The Socialist Republic of Scotland. :wink: )

ETA: wouldn't this be a dangerous precedent? Banning members of a legal political party? To some extent this may play into the hands of the BNP, giving them further cause for complaint.

As much as I abhore the BNP, I would rather see them banned completely, than legislation drafted to exclude them from certain posts. Surely if there is enough grounds to ban them from certain posts there should be enough grounds to ban them completely?
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

lewist
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#46 Post by lewist » June 22nd, 2009, 8:17 pm

getreal wrote:
Hundovir wrote:
lewist wrote:An institution does not have views, nor should it.
In my experience, schools, as institutions, certainly do "have views". I remember reading through pages and pages of documents on the school's policies on racism, multiculturalism, sexism...

Or are you saying that only opinions that differ from the mainstream liberal consensus are "views"? :wink:
I would argue with that, Hundovir, as here, in Scotland, each school does not devise their own set of "views". These are dictated by the local and central government Even where the school had flexibility to devise their own rules (and this would be on relativly trivial matters) they must reflect local and national government positions.
Yes, Hundovir. I know what you are getting at but the reality is as Getreal has said. I do not agree that a policy is a view. In this context a policy is a statement of how the school acts or will act in certain situations or in particular areas of the curriculum. School policies are derived from national policy and it is the duty of individuals employed in a school to carry out the policies of the school. These policies will be very similar to the policies of other schools because they are derived from the same source.

As the employees have to abide by policy, it should not matter what their political or religious affiliation is. I italicise 'should' because I would worry if I thought that my grand daughter was being taught by a member of the BNP.
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Hundovir
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#47 Post by Hundovir » June 22nd, 2009, 8:30 pm

Fair enough. I agree that a state school should try to implement state policy.

At the risk of thread derail, do you have any further comments on your experience of the "religion" thing in state schools? During 17 years of teaching Religious Education in secondary schools I became extremely uncomfortable with the whole implicit acceptance of things like "celebrations of Christmas". (I find the idea of nativity plays in infant schools even more disturbing.)

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mewi
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#48 Post by mewi » June 23rd, 2009, 12:27 am

I think if we start banning people for what they believe, instead of what they do... We only give power to the people who are being banned, regardless of how wrong their belief is. Remember how they banned Michael Savage Weiner from entering the UK? No matter how much I hate this man, I think the ban was unethical and gives far to much power to the government and the person being banned.
What is the point in being required to type "in my opinion" after every paragraph? I am writing it, who's else's opinion would it be? So why is it relevant to type "in my opinion" to begin with?

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Lifelinking
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#49 Post by Lifelinking » June 23rd, 2009, 6:04 pm

That's a good point Mewi. At times it seems we are left trying to weigh up which is the lesser of two evils.
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Nick
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#50 Post by Nick » June 24th, 2009, 1:01 am

I am most concerned about banning members of a legal party. I'd be much more concerned about a teacher of any kids of mine being catholic or muslim than a loony BNP member. And would it make that much difference if a racist was a teacher but not a BNP member?

And haven't we been here before, in a different guise? I'm sure our American friends can help me out, but hasn't the McCarthy era taught us the danger of banning people because of their views?

We have plenty of legislation in this country to prevent the BNP from promoting the worst of their policies, as Griffin's conviction has demonstrated. I think it is highly significant that it is in the working class areas that the BNP is strongest. It is high time the problems of the indigenous poor are addressed. They are the most disadvantaged of all. When they find themselves living in a society where they don't understand a word that is spoken in the street, it is natural for them to feel angry. Like Trading Places I wonder how the liberal left would cope if dumped in the same situation.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#51 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » June 24th, 2009, 10:06 am

Nick wrote:I think it is highly significant that it is in the working class areas that the BNP is strongest.
Yes, but according to a YouGov poll, the household income of the typical BNP voter (£27,000 a year) is only slightly below the national median (£29,000) – and not that far below that of a typical Conservative voter (£33,000) [---][/---] Channel 4 News, Who voted BNP and why?
Nick wrote:It is high time the problems of the indigenous poor are addressed. They are the most disadvantaged of all. When they find themselves living in a society where they don't understand a word that is spoken in the street, it is natural for them to feel angry. Like Trading Places I wonder how the liberal left would cope if dumped in the same situation.
By "indigenous", do you mean white English/Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish or do you mean people who are born in the UK, regardless of ethnic origin? Either way, on what basis are you saying that they are the most disadvantaged of all? Do you mean that there are larger numbers of poor "indigenous" people than there are poor people of any other single ethnic group/country of origin (either way, I would agree with that)? Or do you mean that a poor "indigenous" person is more disadvantaged than a poor person of some other ethnic group/country of origin on the same income? If the latter, what evidence do you have to support that? Or do you mean something else?

I do agree that there are plenty of poor, disadvantaged people who are living in a situation that I personally would not be able to tolerate, and I agree that their problems need to be addressed, and that the Labour government has not done anywhere near enough to address them. I would also agree that problems associated with immigration disproportionately affect people in poorer areas. Housing policy is a big causal factor for a lot of these problems, in my view (see, for example, "Britain's estates are 'social concentration camps'", Independent, 3 May 2009). What about you, Nick? What causal factors would you identify, and what do you think should be done?

Emma

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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#52 Post by Nick » June 24th, 2009, 12:41 pm

Let me say at outset, that I am not always able to justify thoughts by referring to specific stats. What I am conveying are my current thoughts based on info I've come across, which may itself be right or wrong. I'm perfectly happy to be challenged by other evidence, but it won't advance the discussion just to demand references from me that I am unable to provide within any sensible time-frame. (Not that I'm accusing you of that, Emma).
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Nick wrote:I think it is highly significant that it is in the working class areas that the BNP is strongest.
Yes, but according to a YouGov poll, the household income of the typical BNP voter (£27,000 a year) is only slightly below the national median (£29,000) – and not that far below that of a typical Conservative voter (£33,000) [---][/---] Channel 4 News, Who voted BNP and why?
Hmmm. I'm not sure what significance we should draw from that fact. I'm suggesting that the BNP derives its support more from disaffected Labour voters than from disaffected Tories. Your findings may equally point to an increased likelihood of the poorest of the poor not voting at all.
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Nick wrote:It is high time the problems of the indigenous poor are addressed. They are the most disadvantaged of all. When they find themselves living in a society where they don't understand a word that is spoken in the street, it is natural for them to feel angry. Like Trading Places I wonder how the liberal left would cope if dumped in the same situation.
By "indigenous", do you mean white English/Scottish/Welsh/Northern Irish or do you mean people who are born in the UK, regardless of ethnic origin?
I mean those born in the UK, who regard themselves as British, which can include descendants of earlier immigrants. This is, of course, a sliding scale, not a definite yes or no.
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:Either way, on what basis are you saying that they are the most disadvantaged of all? Do you mean that there are larger numbers of poor "indigenous" people than there are poor people of any other single ethnic group/country of origin (either way, I would agree with that)?
As I understand it, when ranked by disadvantage, the ethnicity goes something like this: white, Black and Afro-Caribbean, Asian, Chinese, white. There are likely to be fewer white disadvantaged than, say, black, but there is a discernible group of whites who are the most disadvantaged. (Of course, any member of any group can individually be in any section of the continuum).
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:Or do you mean that a poor "indigenous" person is more disadvantaged than a poor person of some other ethnic group/country of origin on the same income?
No, that is not what I am saying, though of course it is meat and drink to the BNP with their accusations of queue jumping and scrounging by immigrants.
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:I do agree that there are plenty of poor, disadvantaged people who are living in a situation that I personally would not be able to tolerate, and I agree that their problems need to be addressed, and that the Labour government has not done anywhere near enough to address them. I would also agree that problems associated with immigration disproportionately affect people in poorer areas. Housing policy is a big causal factor for a lot of these problems, in my view (see, for example, "Britain's estates are 'social concentration camps'", Independent, 3 May 2009). What about you, Nick? What causal factors would you identify, and what do you think should be done?
Good question. I'll give it some more thought before replying.

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Alan H
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#53 Post by Alan H » June 28th, 2009, 2:14 pm

Nick Cohen's take on this...
********************************************************************************
Why I wouldn't ban BNP members from being teachers | Nick Cohen | Comment is free | The Observer
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... al-offence
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why I wouldn't ban BNP members from being teachers

Perhaps it's a foul thought, but barring people from jobs is the first step to witch-hunting in Britain

* Nick Cohen
*
o Nick Cohen
o The Observer, Sunday 28 June 2009
o Article history

If it had the integrity to follow through the logic of its position, the government would make membership of the British National party a criminal offence. Ministers would be behaving illiberally - dangerously so, for reasons I will get to - but at least they would be demonstrating a consistency in their dealings with fascistic forces that has so far evaded them.

Instead of being honest, the political left is slowly turning Britain into a country where the state can blacklist members of a foul but legal political party. To date, it has only given itself the power to sack police and prison officers for membership of the BNP. Elsewhere, soldiers cannot take part in political activity and doctors, nurses, civil servants and teachers must not allow their beliefs to compromise their professional conduct, but they can keep their allegiances to themselves.

Unfortunately, the sensible compromise that extremists must give proof positive that they are not fit to carry out their duties before the authorities deprive them of their livelihoods seems too sensible to last.

The teachers' unions want BNP members out of the schools. Chris Keates of the NAS/UWT told me that heads should not have to wait for complaints from parents or colleagues. Teachers have subtle powers over pupils that outsiders can miss, she explained. They can promote favourites, ignore bullying and undermine the confidence of their targets. Waiting for normal disciplinary procedures was too great a risk. The sympathetic education secretary Ed Balls is listening to her and considering removing BNP members from classrooms and school governing bodies.

Instinctively, I want to urge him on. To my mind, any parent would be justified in taking their children out of a school that employed a BNP teacher. In any case, how many teachers are neo-fascists (no sniggering at the back please)? BNP membership records leaked last year revealed just 13 of its Aryan warriors were working in schools. Given the small numbers involved and the possibilities for undetected harm against children, my gut feeling is that we should not be too squeamish.

But the gut is not a thinking organ. If you fire police officers and teachers, then there is no reason not follow the advice of the PCS civil service union and drive BNP members out of the whole public sector and- why not? - the private sector too. If it is wrong per se to allow BNP members to arrest suspects, teach children and deal with benefit applications from the ethnic minorities, then it must be equally wrong for them to assess insurance claims or conduct job interviews.

As statements of basic principle never win you friends in England, I will state the theoretical objection that it is unjust to penalise men and women for their political views without further evidence of wrongdoing only briefly and move on to the practical difficulties.

According to its membership records, there are about 12,000 BNP members. Finding and firing them would be a task the like of which Britain has never undertaken before. As Stalin's armies imposed dictatorships across Europe, George Orwell warned the 1945 Labour government about the dangers of employing real and potential Soviet agents in the Foreign Office. It followed his advice, but outside the diplomatic corps and security services, British McCarthyism was a puny phenomenon.

Indeed, Britain in the 1950s rather proudly provided a sanctuary for Hollywood writers and directors fleeing the anti-communist campaigns of cold war America. It still allowed communists to teach students. The worst that Eric Hobsbawm could say about the state vetting he encountered was that his support for Stalin meant that he wasn't promoted up the academic ladder as quickly as he might have been. Be that as it may, he wasn't sacked or sent to prison and ended up receiving the Order of Merit from that notable socialist, Her Majesty, the Queen.

Last week, Professor Peter Hennessy confirmed the impression that the old elite was wary of purges when he released the findings of his investigations in the cold war archives. Even in the event of imminent war with Soviet Union, the police planned to detain only a few dozen enemy aliens and communist sympathisers. Half a century on, the state seems ready to move from dealing with dozens to thousands.

Assuming it can unmask them, that is. For finding out who is a BNP member is nowhere near as easy as it sounds. When the list of members appeared on the net last year, many on it complained that they had nothing to do with neo-fascism. If Labour instigates a purge of the public sector, it will need tribunals to ask the victims of dismissal: "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the British National party" and weigh the veracity of their denials.

Instead of adopting the methods of the witch-finder, ministers could try behaving like politicians. They could abandon selective anti-fascism and notice that many of the supposedly left-wing thinkers and trade union leaders who urge them to sack BNP members have been happy to share platforms with the reactionary ultras of Jamaat-i-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood, as indeed have Jack Straw and many another Labour grandee.

Opposing sectarianism equally without regard to colour and creed would not only be principled, but would have the additional advantage of reducing racism in the white working class.

The current double standard is the result of a version of multiculturalism, which has placed a sinister and ignorant emphasis on race and religion. Immigrants, and particularly their children, have not been acknowledged as full British citizens, but stuffed into boxes labelled "the blacks", "the Muslims", "the Hindus" and seen everyone from the local council to the BBC treat unelected and sectarian "community leaders" as their authentic representatives. Idiotically, the proponents of multiculturalism forget that the working class could play the same game, label itself as "the whites" and insist that society must uncritically "celebrate its diversity" as well. Given the scale of the folly, we should be grateful that the BNP vote remains so small.

The chances of ministers correcting past errors are long. But I live in the hope that in its dying days, Labour will grasp that you don't defeat opponents by briefing lawyers and quangocrats, but by fighting the battle of ideas as if you meant to win it.

[Retrieved: Sun Jun 28 2009 14:13:36 GMT+0100 (GMT Standard Time)]

###################
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

ASHEd
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#54 Post by ASHEd » July 6th, 2010, 1:35 am

One of my politics lecturers who I hold great respect for once said: "Tolerate the intolerant, but do not tolerate their intolerance". In other words let the people have their views and let those with the views have jobs, but do not let them be the main voice of the government which implements policy.

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jaywhat
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#55 Post by jaywhat » July 6th, 2010, 6:17 am

but what about the kids they teach?

Marian
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#56 Post by Marian » July 6th, 2010, 2:25 pm

ASHEd wrote:One of my politics lecturers who I hold great respect for once said: "Tolerate the intolerant, but do not tolerate their intolerance". In other words let the people have their views and let those with the views have jobs, but do not let them be the main voice of the government which implements policy.
I agree but only to a point. I think there comes a time when limits are reached. I've included links to Ernst Zundel http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/i ... ust-denial and James Keegstra. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Keegstra

I have absolutely no qualms about either of them losing their jobs or being deported, respectively. I like that there is a limit to tolerance because without that those people who have clearly crossed the line will keep on doing what they do no matter how hate-filled it is. They don't care. Now, I realize that losing their jobs or being deported will not likely change their views but it helps the people most effected by their behaviour to heal and to feel supported in a 'just' society. ie the children who Keegstra taught
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Paolo
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#57 Post by Paolo » July 6th, 2010, 2:47 pm

There is an assumption here that BNP members who are teachers will be discriminatory with regard to the children they teach and will therefore be unprofessional. This isn't really a fair assumption. The beliefs or opinions of people (however obnoxious) are not equivalent to actions. Unless a teacher acts on their socially unacceptable opinions they should not be penalised. I'm sure there are plenty of teachers who are racist (or sexist or homophobic or otherwise hateful people) but are not members of the BNP and therefore would not get penalised.

At least people who are honest about their opinions can be taken to task more readily if they do act unprofessionally. Perhaps it would be better if all teachers who harbour discriminatory sentiments were members of organisations that acknowledge those sentiments - it would make it easier to deal with complaints if they did arise...

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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#58 Post by coledavis » July 6th, 2010, 3:04 pm

Supporting the previous comment: I'm an atheist and I'm currently allocated two religious types (one Christian, one Muslim). While my colleagues are well aware of my (legal) detestation of all this religiosity, I try hard to teach without upsetting or otherwise disadvantaging my students (even though I could do without having them). The only difference is that I can tell my students, at least at the outset, of my non-religious bent (if that is the correct word); your racist can't do that, but he should be able to teach.
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#59 Post by Marian » July 6th, 2010, 4:52 pm

Paolo wrote: The beliefs or opinions of people (however obnoxious) are not equivalent to actions. Unless a teacher acts on their socially unacceptable opinions they should not be penalised.
I agree that beliefs are not equivalent to action but I think beliefs can and often do influence their holder's actions and in subtle ways. I would certainly keep a weather eye open if my kid were gay and had a teacher who was openly anti-homosexual, for example.
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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#60 Post by jaywhat » July 6th, 2010, 5:01 pm

Paolo - strong point well put.

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Re: Should BNP members be barred from teaching jobs?

#61 Post by ASHEd » July 7th, 2010, 1:02 am

Marian wrote:
ASHEd wrote:One of my politics lecturers who I hold great respect for once said: "Tolerate the intolerant, but do not tolerate their intolerance". In other words let the people have their views and let those with the views have jobs, but do not let them be the main voice of the government which implements policy.
I agree but only to a point. I think there comes a time when limits are reached. I've included links to Ernst Zundel http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/i ... ust-denial and James Keegstra. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Keegstra
But of course, no one should have tolerated his intolerance here.
He could hold his beliefs but not project them and should have stuck to the curriculum and kept it as neutral as possible.
His intolerance should not have been practiced in the classroom.

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