Vegetarian Student Disqualified From GCSE Exam For Making 'Obscene Racial Comments' About Halal Meat

19 August 2019, 16:18

The student was disqualified for "obscene racial comments"
The student was disqualified for "obscene racial comments". Picture: PA

Abigail Ward was disqualified from her Religious Studies exam for criticising halal meat.

A student was accused of making "obscene racial comments" in a GCSE exam for when she criticised halal meat.

Abigail Ward wrote in her Religious Studies exam that as a strict vegetarian she finds the idea of halal meat "absolutely disgusting".

The exam board OCR then disqualified the student and accused her of making "obscene racial comments".

The decision was only overturned after her school, Gildredge House in Eastbourne, appealed the decision.

They argued that Miss Ward was expressing the problems she has with halal butchers, and was not making any comments about Muslims.

The school also pointed out that no other comments in her exam paper could be seen to be racist.

The appeal was upheld and OCR apologised to Miss Ward for any "upset and distress" they caused her.

Miss Ward's mother said that the misunderstanding was due to an “over-zealous, over-righteous” examiner.

“Abbey is an animal lover and a very strict vegetarian. Philosophy is all about debating and getting your opinion out. I can’t believe how pathetic it is."

“It made me angry when asked a question in the exam, you can’t even express your feelings,” she added.

OCR stated that they accept that their original letter "describing the frequency and severity of the comments" was "inaccurate". 

They continued, "OCR takes all incidence of suspected offensive material against a religious group in exams very seriously and must apply rules which are set out for all exam boards in such cases."

"We accept that initially we did not reach the right conclusion and were too harsh."