A primary school in Plymouth have landed themselves in hot water after making children as young as four take part in a ‘fresh Brexit referendum’ – leading to one parent removing his child from the school entirely!
Just minutes after the PM’s Brexit deal was defeated in the House of Commons for the second time, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School published two photos of the children taking part in, what appears to be, a political propaganda exercise.
The first photo shows primary school children being guided into a classroom with a sign on the door that reads “Stay in Europe”. The second photo shows the children, in a similar fashion, being guided into a classroom with a sign on the door that reads “Leave Europe”.
Shortly after this, the school published the BBC’s ‘Breaking News’ graphic, alongside two more photos signifying that ‘Remain’ had won the vote 156-41.
Responding to the posts, a spokesperson for UKIP South West said: “What’s particularly interesting here, is that the person (or persons) running the school’s social media page has decided to obscure the faces of the children shown entering the ‘Leave Europe’ room, but not the faces of the children entering the ‘Stay in Europe’ room.
“Of course, that’s not the only issue here. If this was a lesson about the British democratic system, why not teach the children about paper ballots? Surely one of the most important lessons would be the right to keep one’s vote private? Just imagine the chaos that would have ensued during the referendum if leave voters were made to congregate in one room and remain voters were made to congregate in another.
“And why Brexit? If you’re going to teach children about democracy why not start with Red vs Blue, Pizza vs Chips, Lion vs Monkey? You get the idea. The only reason, I can see, as to why they’d be teaching children as young as four about Brexit is to start the indoctrination process early.
“The other problem, of course, was the question itself… “Stay in Europe” or “Leave Europe”. Great, so they’re teaching our children that the EU referendum was about the UK, somehow, disconnecting itself from an entire continent? Who wants teachers teaching their kids about real life politics when they don’t even know the difference between the EU and Europe?”
The whole situation has left some to speculate whether or not the school is ashamed of its ‘leave voters’. One parent on social media claims the obscured faces belong to children whose parents have not consented to their child being photographed. However, another parent quickly points out that no other children’s faces have been obscured at any point throughout the school’s entire social media history – this was the first time it happened and they only chose to obscure the leave voters faces.
One parent who wishes to remain anonymous, a father of five, told us that his six-year-old son was “taken out” of his classroom and “made to vote in a Brexit referendum”. “I wasn’t given any opportunity to give consent to have my 6-year-old take part. In effect it feels like my son has been used as political propaganda”, he said.
He was so angered by the act that he decided to take his six-year-old son out of the school. “Trust has gone for us”, he said.
Since the event took place the father of five has been in contact with his local authority who apparently understood his complaint and subsequently put him in touch with a school that wouldn’t pull a stunt like this in future.
According to the boy’s father, he’s already got his son a place at a new school and he starts Monday.
Another Facebook user, an ex-teacher who describes herself as a ‘Remainer’, commented on the controversial post saying: “Firstly, commendations to the brave parent or parents who could see through this charade and was brave enough to put their heads above the Parapet. It can’t be easy to express a valid concern when others can’t see the wood for the trees.
“I’m here to offer my support. This exercise is bigger than remain verses Leave. It’s about coercion and a teacher using children to express their preference. And yes agreed it is too much of a coincidence that Leave children are concealed. This is highly indicative of the teacher’s views. Which as far as I know shouldn’t be dressed up as an exercise in citizenship.”
We’ve been told that the school’s headmaster has since apologised to one parent for “the way the exercise was packaged”. The school has also since deleted it’s Facebook account.
The photo on the left was blurred out by us to hide the identity of the children.