Tyne & Wear

Political leaders are terrible role models, says headteacher

Andy Byers, Framwellgate headteacher
Image caption Andy Byers said he wanted people to "reflect" on their language

A headteacher has described the views of some of the country's most prominent politicians as "abhorrent and unpleasant" and warned they set a "terrible" example to his pupils.

Andy Byers, of Framwellgate School, Durham, has written to parents following incidents of bullying.

He believes words used by the likes of Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn have contributed to the attacks.

The Department for Education said "any kind of bullying is unacceptable".

Mr Byers said the secondary school has pupils of different faiths and sexualities and he felt "profound shame" over the attacks targeting one of the youngsters.

He wrote: "It is an inescapable fact students are exposed to abhorrent and unpleasant views.

"Our political leaders, perhaps the worst we have ever seen, espouse many of the things we are teaching our students to be wrong.

"What terrible role models our young people have."

'Stoking up hatred'

He criticised President Donald Trump for the way he "mocked" a disabled journalist and "boasted about sexual violence against women".

Mr Byers then said Boris Johnson "has made Islamaphobic remarks about the burka and, according to the news, racist comments about the French".

Jeremy Corbyn came under fire over what the headteacher described as tolerating anti-Semitism, while Nigel Farage was said to be "stoking up hatred of immigrants".

The document has been shared on social media.

Speaking to BBC Look North, he said: "I felt I wanted to address the bullying incident without identifying the student concerned.

"I really wanted everybody to reflect on the language we use. That was the purpose of the letter."

Asked whether he was commenting on the leaders' political views, he replied: "I have mentioned their behaviour and language. We're all responsible for what comes out of our mouths."

The Department for Education said: "The letter recognises any kind of bullying is unacceptable, and the department will continue to work to make schools safe for children and parents."

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