Scottish school teacher suspended for encouraging discussion on the monarchy

A school teacher has been suspended for encouraging his class to take a critical approach to media coverage surrounding the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

According to Novara Media, the teacher, who is protecting his identity, posed his Politics and Society class of 14-year-olds with the following question: “Have you noticed the media coverage about the royal family? And have any of you ever thought that it’s a bit odd that you don’t hear any dissenting voices, everybody’s all pushing the same narrative? You know, you don’t hear anybody saying, ‘Well is this maybe a time to think about moving away from a royal family?’”

King Charles III, Prince William, Princess Anne, salute alongside Prince Andrew, as the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, adorned with a Royal Standard and the Imperial State Crown, is carried into the Palace of Westminster, following a procession from Buckingham Palace, in London, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. [AP Photo/Ben Stansall]

The teacher, employed in a comprehensive school in North Lanarkshire, near Glasgow, said that while most of the students were sympathetic to his comments, one girl took offence. She told him, “You must be a Catholic” and demanded he “must respect the Queen”. The teacher replied, “That’s how my mum responds when I raise this issue with her.” He said the girl stormed off in a rage.

Five days later, the teacher was suspended, pending a protracted and stressful investigation. The educator of over two decades standing was escorted off the school premises, supposedly due to concerns for his safety. He received a letter from Janie O’Neil, head of North Lanarkshire’s education and families team, explaining his suspension was due to a “parental complaint… alleging that you made inappropriate comments whilst teaching a class about the royal family … [and] mocked pupils in relation to this.” O’Neil did not explain which comments were deemed “inappropriate”.

That a relevant and topical discussion should provoke such a vindictive response from the North Lanarkshire authorities points to the purpose of the deluge of media-led mourning surrounding the 96-year-old queen’s death.

In suppressing all criticism of the monarchy, a class institution defined by its immense wealth, privilege and monstrous failings, the British ruling class is seeking to shift official politics drastically to the right. War and levels of class tensions not seen for decades mean that British imperialism cannot tolerate any objective discussion about the family sitting on top of every branch of its hallowed state apparatus.

To this end democratic norms are being trampled on. Amid the mourning over Elizabeth, protestors peacefully voicing criticisms have been brutally arrested and silenced.

At the same time, the most reactionary elements in society are being emboldened. It is not an accident that the teacher has been victimized in North Lanarkshire, an area long notorious for the sectarian and vicious character of its local politics. Much of the West of Scotland still hosts Orange Order marches with all the anti-Catholic venom and Union Jack-waving of their counterparts in Northern Ireland.

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