Mother 'racially abused' child's teacher
A MOTHER-of-three from Suffolk has been prosecuted for racially abusing her child's teacher, telling him “you are not even British”.Josephine Naylor was given a 12-month community supervision order yesterday , after she admitted a charge of racially aggravated harassment following an incident at Ixworth Middle School last year.
A MOTHER-of-three from Suffolk has been prosecuted for racially abusing her child's teacher, telling him “you are not even British”.
Josephine Naylor was given a 12-month community supervision order yesterday , after she admitted a charge of racially aggravated harassment following an incident at Ixworth Middle School last year.
The 40-year-old, of Hopton Road, Barningham, told deputy headteacher Asaf Hussain she would not speak to him because he was not British.
Last night race equality officials labelled the incident unacceptable, and said everything possible was being done to address the problems of racial abuse in Suffolk schools.
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Magistrates sitting in Mildenhall yesterday heard how Naylor had gone to see music teacher Drew Batty at the end of the school day, on November 7.
“Mr Hussain was in his office when he heard raised voices coming from the lobby, and saw the defendant having a heated discussion with Mr Batty,” said Jane Foster, prosecuting.
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“Mr Hussain felt Miss Naylor's tone of voice was so aggressive that he should intervene, and told Mr Batty he did not have to listen to the abuse.”
The court heard that Naylor then turned her attention to Mr Hussain, and said: 'You're nothing. My kids do not like you, you are not even British. I am not even going to talk to you'.
Mr Hussain, a British-born Pakistani, said he had felt “devalued” by Naylor's comments, and had never come across such behaviour in 10 years of teaching.
Mrs Foster said the incident had been overheard by three children, who had been in the school lobby at the time, and had been witnessed by another teacher who said she felt shocked by the incident, and felt the defendant was intimidating towards Mr Hussain.
Naylor also pleaded guilty to breaching a 12-month bind over, imposed by magistrates in September last year, after she threatened to kill a pregnant woman outside a shop in Ixworth.
Guy Holland, defending, said Naylor, who has a medical history of depression, had acted on the “spur of the moment” during the incident at the school.
“One of Miss Naylor's children had raised a complaint that she wanted to take up with Mr Batty,” he said. “This incident was not racially motivated, but she accepts that she was in the wrong and that her comments could have been derogatory.”
Last night, Derek Merrill, advisory headteacher for race equality at Suffolk County Council, said a total of 501 incidents of racial abuse in Suffolk schools had been reported last year.
“Incidents like this do raise concern, although it is very rare for cases to end up in court, as the vast majority are dealt with by the schools themselves,” he said.
“Racial abuse does go on in schools, with 90% of incidents being of a verbal nature, but we are trying our best to do something about it and will continue to do so.”
Gita Banerji, race equality officer for the Ipswich and Suffolk Commission for Racial Equality, welcomed the fact the matter had been brought to court.
“We are pleased when it leads to an outcome like this because it gives the message out that this sort of thing is not acceptable.
“People should be careful about what they say and should be aware of the consequences, both for themselves and emotionally for the person the abuse is directed at.”
Speaking after yesterday's court case, Naylor, who was ordered to pay £75 for breaching the bind over, and £75 towards prosecution costs, said she was shocked the matter had ended up in court.
“I am not racist and I have never brought my children up to be racist, and I certainly did not go into the school looking for an argument,” she said.
A spokesperson for Suffolk County Council said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to racial abuse in Suffolk, and treat instances of racial abuse very seriously.”