Social services were called in to an English school after an 8-year-old told his teacher that he wanted to “fight terrorists.”
Rhys Atkinson was referred to social services for telling his teacher that he wanted to “fight terrorists” after watching a news story about the Syrian refugee crisis on TV because the school feared that he would become “radicalized.”
“I was called in for a meeting with the head and couldn’t believe what she was telling me,” Rhys’ father Mark Atkinson told Daily Mail. “I was so much in shock I could barely speak. How could the school believe my 8-year-old child could be a terrorist?”
Mark says that his son’s school was raising money to help Syrian refugees when his teacher explained how the crisis began.
“I sat him down and we discussed it,” Mark said. “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.”
According to the father, anti-terrorism police were called in by the school and were told to “look out for signs of radicalization.”
Mark also received a letter explaining that the department has information “in relation to some comments made by your son in school in relation to terrorism.”
The father called the school’s reaction “idiotic” and said that his son is “very shocked.”
“I think they should react to a young child’s naive comments like adults and not jump to crazy conclusions,” Mark said.
The director of children’s services, Julia Hassall, said that “We will be looking to get the parents, school and a representative of the multi-agency safeguarding hub together so that we can resolve what has happened,” the Wirral Globe reports.