Four-year-old who 'mispronounced the word cucumber' threatened with counter-terrorism measures
Published 12/03/2016 | 11:04
Nursery workers suggested a four-year-old boy who mispronounced the word “cucumber” as “cooker bomb” should be referred to a counter-terrorism project, his family has claimed.
The Asian family said concerns were raised with them after the child drew a picture of a man cutting the vegetable with a large knife.
Nursery staff in Luton, Beds, told the child's mother they believed he was saying "cooker bomb" when he was asked about the drawing, and discussed referring the case to the Home Office’s ‘Prevent’ deradicalisation scheme.
However, the case was eventually referred to police and social services panel instead, who decided not to take further action, the BBC Asian Network reported.
The boy's mother, who has not been named, said: "[The member of nursery staff] kept saying it was this one picture of the man cutting the cucumber, which she said to me is a 'cooker bomb'.
“I was baffled. It was a horrible day.”
She added that she feared her children would be taken away from her.
In January it was claimed a 10-year-old Muslim boy was visited by police after he wrote "terrorist house" - instead of "terraced house" during a school lesson.
His father, from Accrington, Lancashire, branded it a "joke" although council sources later claimed action was taken because it was not an isolated incident.
Since July teachers and other workers have been obliged to report any suspicious activity ever since the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act became law.
Just under 2,000 under-15s were referred between January 2012 and December 2015.
Teaching unions say there is confusion over the government's counter-terrorism strategy in schools.
Alex Kenny from the National Union of Teachers said: "Teachers are scared of getting it wrong.
"They think Ofsted is going to criticise them if they haven't reported these things, and you end up [with] the boy making the spelling mistake, or the boy saying something in Arabic - that then gets reported on."