Police record ‘hate incident’ after autistic boy drops Quran in school corridor

1 March 2023, 10:09 | Updated: 1 March 2023, 11:26

Police recorded a ‘hate incident’ after a boy dropped the Quran at school
Police recorded a ‘hate incident’ after a boy dropped the Quran at school. Picture: Google Maps/Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Police have recorded a “hate incident” after an autistic boy dropped a copy of the Quran in a busy school corridor and four pupils were suspended over false rumours that it had been set alight.

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A Year 10 pupil at Kettlethorpe High School, Wakefield - who was said to be autistic - was told to bring in a copy of the Quran by friends after losing a video game. It was later damaged after he dropped it in a busy corridor.

Four pupils were suspended for a week and West Yorkshire police intervened after false rumours spread that the holy book had been set alight.

Akef Akbar, a councillor who works with the school, said the boy had taken the Quran to school last week and given it to another pupil who read out passages on the tennis court.

The book was later taken inside, where it fell on the floor before being put in a pupil’s bag, he said.

Inspector Andy Thornton spoke to parents at the local mosque and told them the damage was being treated as a “hate incident”.

Meanwhile, Tudor Griffiths, the school's headteacher, said there had been “no malicious intent” but the pupils’ actions were “unacceptable”.

Read more: More protests erupt at British schools as pupils riot amid claims boys are photographing girls in unisex toilets

Read more: School suspends sex education as independent review launched after drag queen 'told 11-year-olds there are 73 genders'

The home secretary expressed concern after police recorded the “hate incident”
The home secretary expressed concern after police recorded the “hate incident”. Picture: Alamy

In a recording of a meeting seen by The Times, Mr Griffiths said: “If more consequences have to be followed, that will be the case.”

Humanists UK said the decision to suspend the boys alleged to have started the rumours was “horrendous” and the school had allowed itself to be “pressured into excessive disciplinary action by areligious group”.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is understood to have expressed concern after police took such steps over the “slight damage”.

“These are very concerning reports," a source close to Ms Braverman said.

"The Home Secretary is clear that the police response should always be proportionate and consider the welfare of young children as a priority over any perceived insults.”

The mother of the boy who brought in the Quran said he was autistic and had received death threats.

Apologising on his behalf, she added: “He hasn’t eaten since Wednesday afternoon when this occurred because with his autism.

"It’s put his anxiety to a level where he is beside himself. He is very, very sorry.”

The case is believed to be considered a “non-crime hate incident”, giving police a way to record an incident which does not necessarily meet the criminal threshold.

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