Eton College tried to report teacher they sacked over ‘male superiority’ lecture to anti-TERRORISM Prevent programme
- English tutor Will Knowland was dismissed for ‘gender roles’ YouTube lecture
- Prevent programme requires schools to report potential pupil radicalisation
- Mr Henderson is accused of pushing ‘woke’ agenda and suppressing free speech
Eton College tried to report its dismissed Master to the anti-terrorism Prevent programme for allegedly advocating male supremacy and the glorification of violence.
The elite £42,500-a-year public school reported their concerns to their local authority over teacher Will Knowland’s lecture.
School chiefs dismissed Mr Knowland after he refused to take down an online lecture tackling radical feminism and the concept of ‘toxic masculinity’ from his personal YouTube channel.
Eton College tried to refer its dismissed Master Will Knowland (pictured) under the Prevent duty for advocating male supremacy and the glorification of violence
The move sparked outrage among students who launched a petition for Mr Knowland’s reinstatement, plunging the private school – which is closed due to a coronavirus outbreak – into chaos.
Under-fire headmaster Mr Henderson, known as ‘Trendy Hendy’ has been accused of suppressing free speech and implementing a progressive ‘woke’ agenda.
It has now been revealed that the school contacted the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead’s Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) over the contents of Mr Knowland’s discussion.
The school claimed the lecture advocated male superiority and female inferiority, glorified violence and promoted far-right extremism, according to The Telegraph.
The LADO is responsible for managing local child protection allegations, and schools are required under the 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act to report any instances where children could be influenced into terrorist acts, which is known as the Prevent duty.
An Eton College spokesman said: ‘It is categorically untrue that Eton reported Mr Knowland under the Prevent Duty.
‘The possibility that the video might cause concern under Prevent if it were shown to students was raised in legal advice. The school did not believe that it would but confirmed that view in consultation with the Local Authority Designated Officer.’
Under-fire headmaster Mr Henderson, known as ‘Trendy Hendy’ has been accused of suppressing free speech and implementing a progressive ‘woke’ agenda
Schools have to contact their authority if they are concerned pupils have been exposed to radicalisation.
Mr Knowland delivered a lecture titled the ‘Patriarchy Paradox’ in which he questioned ‘current radical feminist orthodoxy’ and claimed the male role as a ‘protector’ benefits society as a whole – including women.
The talk was part of a Perspectives course for sixth form students designed to encourage debate and critical thinking.
But the lecture was banned and Mr Knowland was sacked by Mr Henderson after he refused to remove it from his YouTube channel.
The school claimed the lecture advocated male superiority and female inferiority, glorified violence and promoted far-right extremism
Eton said the dismissal was not an issue of free speech but one of internal discipline.
Mr Henderson has not backed down despite a public backlash over his decision to axe the popular master.
But after reporting the lecture, the LADO found it did not meet the threshold for the Prevent duty and it was referred back to the Windsor school to deal with internally.
Mr Knowland told The Telegraph the complaint was ‘laughable’, saying: ‘So something many colleagues and parents considered an excellent stimulus for debate is also terrorism?
Mr Knowland lost his appeal over his dismissal after the governing body upheld the decision to sack him
‘The video has over 40 academic references, including work published by Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale. Are these the kind of ideas considered akin to terrorism in Henderson’s safe-space Eton?’
He denied that the lecture promoted dangerous ideologies, saying it only explored biological differences between men and women.
The school’s director of safeguarding is believed to have become concerned that the lecture diminished the severity of rape.
Mr Knowland said in his talk that rape was ‘not a unique claim for male oppression of women’ since the rate of male on male rape in jail is greater than male on female rape outside of prison.
The latest revelations come after a number of Old Etonians threatened to withhold £2million in funding unless the headmaster resigned.
Tory peer Lord Bellingham, a former pupil at the Berkshire college, warned a dining club of 45 alumni are incensed by headmaster Mr Henderson’s sacking of teacher Mr Knowland.
Tory peer Lord Bellingham (left), an Old Etonian, warned a dining club of 45 alumni are incensed by headmaster Simon Henderson for sacking teacher Will Knowland
In a letter to Eton College, Lord Bellingham said Mr Henderson’s ‘woeful handling of this issue’ has further damaged his ‘very shaky’ authority and inflicted ‘very severe reputational damage’ on the school.
Though he stressed he personally disagreed with the content of Mr Knowland’s lecture, he believed the dismissal was a suppression of free speech.
The Conservative peer also accused the headmaster of ‘looking like a small and mean-minded individual’ and suggested ‘the only decent course of action is for him to resign’.
He added that dozens of Old Etonians were putting plans to donate £2million to the school on hold ‘so long as Simon Henderson remains in post’.
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