Facebook row head denies claims he was racist and disrespectful to Leicester
- 2 May 2013
- From the section Leicester
A Leicester head teacher who was pictured wearing a turban on Facebook denies he was being racist.
Tim Luckcock, head teacher at Uplands Junior School, said a comment he made about going "native" in Leicester was taken out of context.
He said he felt "misrepresented in the context of a very controversial staffing review".
Staff at the school have sent a collective grievance to the city council about Dr Luckcock.
Dr Luckcock said the photograph had been taken at a school assembly.
"I had immense fun dressing up in ethnic costume for Diwali," he said. "There's an insinuation I'm being racist but my dad was born in India and I'm completely open to different faiths. Gandhi is my hero."
Dr Luckcock added: "Wearing a turban honours that culture. I am Muslim, my wife is Algerian and I wear traditional Arabic costume when I visit her family.
"'Going native' is just a colloquial expression. It's a sign that somebody has cosmopolitan tastes and respect for local ways.
"I thought the Facebook page was only accessible to friends and family. I believe people were trying to dig for dirt about me and they've found something a bit juicy."
The image was posted on 18 April, four days after staff at the school called for Dr Luckcock's resignation in an eight-page collective grievance document which included concerns about the axing of eight teaching assistant posts.
Unions claim the redundancies have been poorly managed. The grievance also describes the governance of the school as "poor" and refers to a "history of conflict".
But a 2012 Ofsted report ranked the school as "good" and described the governing body as "very effective".
The grievance document also refers to concerns about the chair of governors Abid Matak. The BBC has been unable to contact Mr Matak for a response to the claims.
Unions including Unison, the NUT and NASUWT are meeting the council on Friday to discuss the grievance.
Peter Flack, the assistant secretary of NUT in Leicester, said: "I think the photograph and the comments the head teacher has made are totally disgraceful. This is a multicultural city.
"We have multicultural schools serving all faith communities and basically what we have is a head teacher who is mocking that."