Saturday 3 December 2016

Top Irish school under fire after quotes praising Hitler included in yearbook

School accused of 'nurturing hatred' over reference to heinous dictator

Deborah McAleese

Published 12/09/2016 | 07:31

The biography that appeared in Belfast High School’s yearbook in which one pupil , describing himself as a fascist, quoted Adolf Hitler
The biography that appeared in Belfast High School’s yearbook in which one pupil , describing himself as a fascist, quoted Adolf Hitler

A top Irish grammar school is under fire after quotes from Adolf Hitler were included in its yearbook.

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Belfast High School's Yearbook 2016, which is made up of short biographies and photographs of graduating students, included vile Nazi comments attributed to a pupil.

In his short biography, one student, who has since left the school, described himself as "British, Loyalist and Fascist". He then quoted from Adolf Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf: "It is not truth that matters, but victory."

A reference to the 1923 Munich Putsch - a failed coup attempt by Adolf Hitler to seize power in Munich - was also made by the student.

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler

The comments have sparked alarm among parents with children at the Newtownabbey school. One parent who contacted the Belfast Telegraph accused the school of "nurturing" hatred.

In a statement, the school said: "This is a contribution by an individual 18-year-old former pupil to a student publication. These comments do not reflect the views of Belfast High School."

The newspaper requested an interview with principal Lynn Gormley or acting principal Charlotte Weir, but neither were available for comment.

However, the school has been criticised for failing to accept responsibility for the "deeply offensive" posts.

Newtownabbey councillor Billy Webb demanded that the school recall the yearbook and edit out the comments.

"The school cannot wash their hands of this. They should be putting their hands up and taking full responsibility for something offensive like this posted under their banner," the Alliance man said.

He added: "The Belfast Telegraph wouldn't allow comments like that to be posted under their banner. If something offensive like that appeared under Antrim Borough Council's banner I would demand for it to be retracted. The school should take full responsibility.

"The school should not have allowed something like this to have gone out in the first place. It was very poor judgment. The school needs to recall this yearbook and have the offensive comments edited out."

One parent who contacted the Belfast Telegraph accused the school of "nurturing" hatred.

"I was horrified to find Adolf Hitler quoted and a reference to Munich Putsch (1923). At a time when people are focused on the spread of hatred in Islamic schools, I find it appalling that we have hatred here in Northern Irish schools in plain sight," the parent said.

"No doubt Belfast High School will distance themselves from the entry by saying the yearbook is generated by the pupils, however, the school branding is all over the book and it includes contributions by both the school principal and acting school principal.

"No doubt it was also created during school time and using school resources.

"The article begs the question - what are we doing in our schools where attitudes such as this are nurtured and celebrated in a school year book?" Belfast High School describes itself as "one of the best grammar schools in Northern Ireland" and says it has high expectations of its pupils.

"In particular, we expect high standards with regard to attendance, uniform, punctuality and behaviour," the school says on its website.

In May, Education Minister Peter Weir visited the school for the opening of a sports facility.

Belfast Telegraph

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