By BI: A school called in social services after an eight-year-old boy told a teacher he wanted to ‘fight terrorists’ after watching a news report on the Syrian refugee crisis. Teachers referred Rhys Atkinson to Wirral Council’s children’s safeguarding hub over fears he could be ‘radicalixed’ and turn into a terrorist.
UK Daily Mail Rhys, a pupil at St Michael & All Angels in Upton, on the Wirral, Merseyside, had been watching a TV news report on the Syrian refugee crisis. Father Mark Atkinson said: ‘I was called in for a meeting with the head and couldn’t believe what she was telling me. ‘I was so much in shock I could barely speak. How could the school believe my eight-year-old child could be a terrorist?’
He says he was approached by staff as he waited at the school gate for his children to finish their day. He said: ‘The school has been raising money to help with the refugee crisis. My son came home and told me his form teacher had explained how the crisis had begun.
‘I sat him down and we discussed it. The next day he went into school and said that he wanted to fight terrorists. ‘Then all of a sudden it’s being implied by his teachers that he is one.’
A letter sent from the department to Mr Atkinson states it has information ‘in relation to some comments made by your son in school in relation to terrorism.’ The letter continues to claim ‘it has also been brought to our attention he plays a violent video game’ – an accusation that has been strongly denied by the child’s mother.
She said the ‘terrorism’ ordeal had been very distressing: ‘He is very shocked. ‘He is putting on a brave face but was confused and didn’t understand if he can still go to school. ‘I think they should react to a young child’s naive comments like adults and not jump to crazy conclusions. It is idiotic.’