My feed

to access all these features

Join the discussion and meet other Mumsnetters on our free online chat forum.


Son being accused of being resist

50 replies

Ruthyx1 · 25/06/2019 09:38

Hi there, my son aged 16, who is currently attending a Post 16 School was falsely accused of being racist by one of his computing teachers. He was accused of being racist last Friday because he had searched up "Harambe"(Which is a gorilla) while in his lesson, the teacher then looked at his computer screen seeing the gorilla, which is when she proceeded to send him out of the lesson to confront him about it. The computing teacher then accused my son almost instantly of being racist towards black people, in her own words she said "You shouldn't be looking at gorilla's when there's a black person in the room" My son then apologised but assured the teacher that the picture of the gorilla was not intended to cause any offence towards her she went on to say that she is going to email The (Head Of Computing) about the incident, she then told my son to go back into class and carry on with his work.(Just for reference my son is a White Male and the teacher is a Black Female)

The following Monday, My son was pulled out of his computing lesson as he had to have a meeting about the incident that had occurred the Friday prior. In the meeting he was interrogated by His Head Of Year 12
and the Assistant Head and was made out to be a racist, while telling [redacted] that as soon as they heard about the incident they instantly made the connection between the gorilla and being racist My son then began to cry in the meeting as he was devastated that a picture of a gorilla had been taken this far even after His head of year told myself and my son "I know he isn't racist " but then confirms with Head Teacher that my son should be excluded from school for 1 day for racism missing a mock exam in the process. The head of year then also extended the meeting to [redacted's] place in the school saying that if she was in his place she would withdraw and go somewhere else, The head of year also added that my son is going to fail his exams. I was so shocked coming from a teacher when they're supposed to support and provide for our students, they're meant to motivate our students not to make them out to feel worthless.

This has severely effected my son aswe went to go see the GP approximately two weeks ago about him having depression, he was referred to C.A.M.H.S (Child And Adolescent Mental Health Services) and i have booked him an appointment to try and get some help, but this situation is making it much worse especially when they know the mental state he is currently in. I'm concerned as this false accusation of racism is put on to his permanent record as he was excluded due to the incident, which universities and future jobs will be able to see.
Advice please..

Identifying information edited by MNHQ

OP posts:
womaninthedark · 25/06/2019 09:40

First, ask MN to remove his name from your post.

roundaboutsroundabouts · 25/06/2019 09:41

Did you put your sons name in this post on purpose?

Ruthyx1 · 25/06/2019 09:43

Please remove the name from post it was an accident

OP posts:
roundaboutsroundabouts · 25/06/2019 09:45

You have to report the post to mnhq, you can't just write it here

Tbh I'm not sure I understand what happened here.

Hadalifeonce · 25/06/2019 09:45

I really don't what the right thing to do about this situation. If I were in your shoes I would ask for a meeting with the head and chair of governors/trustees, to ascertain why they consider looking at a picture of an animal can in anyway be considered racist, if it wasn't being used as something to show other people and laugh about.
I can understand him being told off if he was random Googling when he's supposed to be doing something else.

millymae · 25/06/2019 14:55

There is no back story to this is there OP?. If not I think the school has used a sledgehammer to crack a nut and you would be well within your rights to seek a meeting with the Head and Chair of the Governors.
Did your son have a legitimate reason for looking at a gorilla on line in a computer lesson?. If he didn't, this was unfortunate because it adds weight to the teacher's argument that what he was doing was racially motivated. It's a pity that if he was just googling he wasn't looking at something like a giraffe.
I have no experience of being racially harassed/abused but have no doubt that it must wear you down and sometimes cause you to perceive insult when it was not intended. The gorilla thing is difficult because if the teacher is asked to defend her stance she could mention the disgusting monkey noises made at some football matches when black players get the ball. Even so it is a giant step from this to accusing somebody of being racist just because they were looking at a gorilla on a computer screen.
Putting my tin hat on here I'm prepared to say that if your son has never been in this sort of trouble before then the teacher and the school have been OTT in their judgements about his actions and how to deal with the matter.
Although what I've said seems to be supporting your son more than his teacher I am not at all unsympathetic to her questioning his motives. Seeing the picture of that gorilla could have just been the straw that broke her back after incessant racial abuse from elsewhere . It's absolutely abhorrent that racism still exists in this country today. I'm just not convinced that making a spectacle of your son for looking at a gorilla when being taught by a black teacher will do much towards getting rid of it once and for all.
I am tempted to mention Mr Johnson here - his racist comments were beyond disgusting yet appear to have made no difference to his popularity. When people standing for high office are allowed to go unpunished for such obviously racist comments the school is misguided if it thinks such a harsh punishment should be metered out to your son for looking at a picture that he says was not racially motivated.

RubberTreePlant · 25/06/2019 15:31

The computing teacher then accused my son almost instantly of being racist towards black people, in her own words she said "You shouldn't be looking at gorilla's when there's a black person in the room"


twattymctwatterson · 25/06/2019 15:51

Is this purely your son's version of what happened? Have any details been left out?

msmith501 · 25/06/2019 15:57

Just thinking ahead to the future and an ideal world... at the moment, the OPs son looked at a picture of a gorilla and was thought to be racist because of the stereotypes from the 60 and 70s in the main where the ignorance of the day used derogatory terms like monkey, gorilla, ape etc as a way of describing (mostly) black people / people of colour. Of course it was wrong and still would be BUT isn't the behaviour of the teachers involved what actually perpetuates the issue by forcing an association that perhaps young people of today just don't make / have never heard of / would be horrified to even imply? If racism was truly being addressed (and I think it is across the UK), then surely we must soon get to a world where we can talk about gorillas and similar without someone reverting to stereotypical assumptions as seems to have happened here. If not, then something has really gone wrong and gorillas will forever be verboten as subjects within the education system.

maddy68 · 25/06/2019 16:12

I would suggest there is more to this than stated. The software on school computers picks up racist searches. I would suggest that there have been several racist searches. And possibly a comment in the hearing of a black teacher.
I am a teacher and I know hoe these things can be spun by teenagers.

mcmen71 · 25/06/2019 16:26

@maddy68 I am a teacher and I know hoe these things can be spun by teenagers.

This is from your message and it seems to have spelling mistakes.
for a teacher why can you not spell.

Mums know their teens better than teachers and if op says he is innocent he is innocent.

maddy68 · 25/06/2019 16:58

Oooh I made a typo !!!

maddy68 · 25/06/2019 16:59

No glasses on and typing in the car does not make me unable to spell .... How rude!

KatherineJaneway · 25/06/2019 17:06

Is there a solid reason your son was looking for pictures of gorillas?

BlingLoving · 25/06/2019 17:11

Surely he can simply explain why he was looking at pictures of gorillas? Also, if the school thinks he is racist, it has to be MORe than a picture so they should be saying why. Were you in any of these meetings? I'd be interested in hearing the full story. It is entirely possible that your DS has said or done something he does not realise is offensive but rather thinks is funny. In which case you and the school need to get to the bottom of what happened and ensure he understand why it's not acceptable.

For example, was the gorilla thing at the same time as that radio dj who posted a photo of harry with meghan as a gorilla? In which case, there's context there. While it's possible your DS didn't know that context, it could easily be seen by the black teacher as an issue.

YourSarcasmIsDripping · 25/06/2019 17:41

Have you actually talked to any of the people involved or is this all coming from your son?

Knitclubchatter · 25/06/2019 17:46

Yes, as mentioned in a previous post? Why that topic? Researching climate change, logging in the rainforest, activism in the 1980’s?

creamofcarnation · 25/06/2019 17:58

Massive holes in this story

AquaPris · 25/06/2019 19:17

Something is missing from this. He wouldn't fail his exams for one day out so that already existed. And teachers don't tend to explode upon seeing innocent googling - I would suggest that your son was making gestured or nodding towards the teacher or something with the image on his screen.

@mcmen71 parents don't know their children's behaviour all the time though... kids swear, act up and act very differently at school than they do in front of mum so her saying he's innocent certainly doesn't mean he is.

critters68 · 25/06/2019 19:39

Why was he looking for gorillas in the lesson? Was the lesson on gorillas? If it wasn't then it sounds extremely suspect. (I thought you said it was an IT lesson). A classic racial bullying tactic is to mention / drop in monkey references- surely this doesn't have to be explained to you?

InsertFunnyUsername · 25/06/2019 19:45

This cant be the whole story, surely.

SavoyCabbage · 25/06/2019 19:49
SweetJasmine17 · 25/06/2019 19:50

Sorry, but I don't think you're son would be excluded unless he did something wrong. If him and his friends are laughing or whatever then yes it looks suspicious.

And I'm a teen, I can tell you people often gossip about teachers/students even right in front of them. Of course your son wouldn't admit to being racist - but obviously I wasn't there.

solargain · 25/06/2019 19:56

It does seem a little odd op. Are you positive that's all that happened?

TotheletterofthelawTHELETTER · 25/06/2019 19:58

I’ve just dealt with an issue at work which involved some year 10’s racially bullying another pupil, following her home and throwing insults at her whole family, including likening them to gorillas. It was fucking disgusting actually and so hard to remain professional when dealing with them.

So, I don’t think it’s out of line for the black teacher to see your son googling pictures of the gorilla and assuming it was with racial intent.

Were you at any of these meetings with your son? Have you spoken to the school? If his involvement is just as you say then he has been foolish for googling random images not in his lesson plan and the school have been heavy handed.

However, I would put money on there being more to this story, and his involvement.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.