Last week, I wrote about the high school in the United Kingdom that banned expensive coats in an effort to prevent "poverty-shaming." This week, British high school officials have egg on their face again after they accused parents who were concerned that a 6'1 pupil with a beard and the body of a man might not be the 15-year-old asylum seeker from Iran that he claimed to be. In the Stoke High School officials' mind, the parents were being racist and might offend the new student. Well, the parents were right and authorities are investigating how the adult was allowed access to the school in the first place.
The Sun UK has the story about the Ipswich, Suffolk school:
"An investigation was launched when a pupil posted a picture of their new classmate in uniform in a classroom on Snapchat with a message saying: “How’s there a 30-year-old man in our maths class?”
"Parents were shocked, and some even removed their children from the school as classmates shared old pictures of him on Facebook, showing him with a full beard, a hairy chest and swigging a beer.
Sources confirmed that the 6ft 1in tall pupil who spoke poor English was assessed as being aged over 18 in an investigation ordered by the Home Office."
He has since been removed from the school earlier this month."
Parents told the Sun UK that their initial concerns were rebuffed by the school.
He spent six-weeks pretending to be a year 11 student before being suspended and threatened with deportation.
A dad of two girls at the school said yesterday: "I went in [to] complain but I was fobbed off. They are deluded and seem more worried about how the bloke might feel.
"I am not aware of this lad having done anything inappropriate, but it’s clearly wrong that he should be in a class with children."
Another parent said the student's physical attributes should have made it extremely obvious that the asylum seeker was not a teenage boy.
“The question is, how didn’t the Home Office or the teachers see what was blindingly obvious to everyone else?
“Heads need to roll and us parents won’t rest until we get a full explanation of what went wrong. It’s a massive safeguarding issue to have a man, whose background is not known, in a class full of youngsters.
“He had chest hair and the body of a man. It beggars belief that it was ever allowed to happen.”
The British agency in charge of granting asylum, the Home Office, issued the following statement.
"When there is doubt about an individual’s claim to be a child, the individual will be referred to a local authority’s social services department for a careful, case law-compliant age assessment and they will be treated as a child until a decision on their age is made.
“If an individual is assessed to be over 18, we will process any asylum claim as being made by an adult. If the application is unsuccessful, and appeal rights are exhausted, removal action will be pursued as appropriate.
“In the absence of documentary evidence, Home Office staff are only able to treat a claimant as an adult if their physical appearance and demeanour very strongly suggest that they are significantly over 18 years of age – and where two officers have reached this conclusion independently.
“The threshold is set deliberately high so that only those who are very clearly over 18 are assessed as adults.”
It's always important to be nice the new kid. It's tough moving, especially in high school. But things get complicated when the new guy looks he could be your dad and then you are called racist for being concerned he has a full-grown beard and you don't even have armpit hair yet. This story is just another reminder: Whatever social justice calamity pops up in America, just thank God we aren't the Brits.