Teacher accused of assault on Muslim girl

Press Association
Tuesday January 27, 2004
The Guardian


A senior teacher "forcibly" pulled a headscarf from the head of 15-year-old Muslim pupil, then "demonstrated hostility" towards the girl's religion, a jury was told today.

Hazel Dick, 43, of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, caused the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to suffer a "two centimetre" pin scratch on her neck, Peterborough crown court heard.

Ms Dick denies religiously aggravated assault. She told police she did not forcibly pull the scarf from the girl's head and did not say anything offensive about Islam or show hostility towards the religion.

Jurors were told the alleged assault occurred in March last year at Bretton Woods Community School after the girl was told to change her scarfor hijabbecause it was not the correct school uniform.

Stuart Alford, prosecuting, said Ms Dick became annoyed and "pulled the scarf from her head forcibly". The pins became undone and scratched her neck. Although the injury was not serious, it still amounted to assault. He said Ms Dick then used language which was insulting and hostile to the girl's Islamic religion.

Mr Alford said one pupil told the police that he saw Ms Dick get angry. Mr Alford told the court the boy heard her say: "'Well, your religion is a joke ... the bottom of my shoe is more important than Allah'."

The hearing continues today.

Special report
Religion in the UK

Related articles
Guide to British religions
Full coverage - Muslim Britain

Useful links
Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Westminster
Board of Deputies of British Jews
Muslim Council of Britain
The Vatican
World Council of Hindus - UK
The RE directory

Education