Boy, 14, excluded from school after teacher accuses him of making Nazi salute and clicking his heels
- Student Ben Hayward denies he said 'Heil Hitler'
- Claims he was mimicking teacher who had raised arm to signal for quiet
By Anna Edwards
PUBLISHED: 22:56 EST, 6 February 2013 | UPDATED: 03:43 EST, 7 February 2013
A schoolboy has been excluded for allegedly performing a Nazi salute in class to his teacher.
A teacher accused Ben Hayward, 14, of making the racist hand gesture while clicking his heels and saying 'Heil Hitler' at Meopham School, in Meopham, Kent.
The boy denies using the phrase and clicking his heels, and says he was unaware he was being 'racist' when he stretched out his left arm to imitate his teacher, who was using her hand to signal for the class to be quiet.
Ben Hayward, 14, with father Scott, maintains he was not being racist and was only mimicking his teacher
Following the incident in November last year, Ben was punished with a two-hour detention after school.
However Ben and his parents refused to accept the punishment and demanded a meeting with the school to have the incident thoroughly investigated.
Not backing down: Mr Hayward wanted the matter 'properly investigated'
His father Scott Hayward said: 'We asked the school to talk to the teacher as we thought she may have misjudged the incident as racist.
'At most it could have been seen as undermining her authority but definitely not racist.
'If investigated properly with witness statements from the other 20 or so children there, it would show the teacher was mistaken.'
Although the detention was postponed, headteacher Matthew Munro contacted the Haywards in January to say Ben must serve the punishment but the school was prepared to no longer describe the incident as racist.
Scott, 41, said: 'We refused as we said all along we wouldn't accept a change of accusation, especially after accusing our son of racism without further investigation and causing so much upset to all our family.'
On Friday, Ben came home from school and told his parents he had been in exclusion for the day.
His father says Ben had his phone taken away from him and 'all communication with the other children was severed.'
Mr Hayward, who lives with Ben in Cuxton, Kent added: 'It's been upsetting because Ben has been questioned again and again because we've not been getting answers from the school.
'But we stick by our son.'
Mr Hayward says he is now going to lodge a complaint with the board of governors.
The school says Ben must serve the punishment but it was prepared to no longer describe the incident as racist
Headteacher Matthew Munro said: 'The standard procedure when students have an after school detention is if they miss it twice they will have a day of internal exclusion in our internal exclusion unit.
'We had discussions with Mr and Mrs Hayward and we did agree we wouldn't categorise it as a racist incident but that it would be a serious incident and the punishment would stand.
'A racist incident is defined by perception of other people rather than the intention of the person who committed it and this is the point we tried to make.
'The fact remains a teacher took great exception and perceived the incident as racist.
'However, as I said this was a point we were willing to re-categorise and that is where we left it.'