A father is outraged after his 8-year-old son was treated like a potential terrorist after revealing he wanted to “fight terrorists.”
The child, Rhys Atkinson, made the declaration to his teacher after learning of the Syrian refugee crisis; In a panic, the school called social services for fear that he could be “radicalized,” the Daily Mail reported.
The British youngster’s father, Mark Atkinson, said he was approached by school officials as he waited for his children to be dismissed from St Michael & All Angels school in Upton.
“I was called in for a meeting with the head and couldn’t believe what she was telling me,” he told the Mail.
“I was so much in shock I could barely speak. How could the school believe my eight-year-old child could be a terrorist?”
The school told the elder Atkinson that officials have been to several schools telling staff to watch for “signs of radicalism.”
“The school has been raising money to help with the refugee crisis. My son came home and told me his form teacher had explained how the crisis had begun,” he told the Mail. “I sat him down and we discussed it. The next day he went into school and said that he wanted to fight terrorists. Then all of a sudden it’s being implied by his teachers that he is one.”
Atkinson was sent home from school with a letter that said the school had information “in relation to some comments made by your son in school in relation to terrorism” and that it was concerned because “it has also been brought to our attention he plays a violent video game.”
The child’s mother, Louise, said the entire ordeal has distressed her child.
“He is putting on a brave face but was confused and didn’t understand if he can still go to school,” she told the Mail.
“I think they should react to a young child’s naive comments like adults and not jump to crazy conclusions. It is idiotic,” she said.
The school has since reached out to Mr. Atkinson to request a meeting but he has declined as he said he doesn’t feel comfortable attending, the Mail reported.
Listen to a report on the incident below.
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