Muslim schoolboy quizzed about ISIS after raising ‘eco-terrorism’ in French class

© Richard Bouhet
A Muslim schoolboy was questioned by staff about Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) after he used the term ‘eco-terrorist’ in a classroom discussion about the environment.

The 14-year-old, who wishes not to be named, said the experience of being taken out of his class and questioned about an international terrorist organization was “scary.”

Central Foundation School in Old Street, London, said they acted to protect the welfare of the child in line with the government’s controversial counter-extremism ‘Prevent’ policy.

The schoolboy’s parents are taking legal action against the school, claiming he was left “visibly distressed” by the experience.

According to court documents, the boy was taking part in a discussion about the environment in a French class.

The teacher and students are said to have discussed those who use violence to promote environmentalism.

The teenager mentioned that some people use the term “eco-terrorist” to describe such people, a term he says he learned from an earlier session of the school debating society.

A few days later, the boy was taken out of the classroom and quizzed by a teacher and, according to the Guardian, a child protection officer to check if concerns about terrorism were legitimate.

I didn’t know what was going on. They said there had been safety concerns raised. If you are taken out of French class and asked about ISIS, it is quite scary. My heart skipped a beat,” the boy told the Guardian.

He said he was shocked that using the term “L’ecoterrorisme” led to him being asked whether he supported IS.

Central Foundation School defended the decision to question the boy as being in line with government policies on the prevention of extremism and terrorism.

The school said it was protecting the “welfare of the child in line with statutory and non-statutory guidance including the ‘Prevent duty’.

Teaching unions have expressed concern about government guidelines on preventing extremism in schools which stifle debate in classrooms.

Earlier this month a police officer at a counter-terrorism training event told teachers that Green Party MP Caroline Lucas could be an extremist because of her involvement in anti-fracking protests, according to the Times Educational Supplement (TES).

Lucas said she was shocked by the news and planned to complain.

Equating peaceful political demonstrations with violent extremism is both offensive and deeply misguided,” she told the TES.