The former school of MILO, Simon Langton grammar school for boys, has announced plans to create a forum which will attempt to be “an antidote to the poison of political correctness.”
You’re not going to see any of the illiberal racial segregation at these safe-from-safe-spaces locations.
The school, which is located in Canterbury, UK, intends the forum to examine “the most beautifully disturbed and disturbing ideas, all of them presented without trigger warnings.”
The Guardian reports, Matthew Baxter, the headteacher of the school, says the forum would incorporate texts such as Mein Kampf to create a “wider debate.”
The optional classes, which are aimed at 17- and 18-year-old pupils, have been criticized by some who claim the forum will enable people to be as “racist/sexist/xenophobic” as they like.
My school is bringing in an “unsafe space” where people can be as racist/sexist/xenophobic as they like a r e y o u s h i t t i n g m e
According to the Guardian, two pupils claimed the teacher in charge of the forum, Professor James Soderholm, has mocked the LGBT community in the past by presenting the term with additional numbers and letters during a powerpoint presentation.
“LGBT was mentioned in the PowerPoint, followed by a string of letters and numbers, none of which were intended to give representation, but instead to mock,” cried Alice Lefever, 18.
The librarian of the school, Janeen Barker, disputed the claim, stating the acronym Soderholm used was a real one.
“I wanted to be as inclusive as possible by trying to use an LGBT-friendly term,” she told the Guardian. “I found the acronym LGBTQQIP2SAA on the following websites, both of which I thought were respectful of the community, as am I.”
Find out what LGBTQQIP2SAA really means in this quick video. Never been to pride? Everything you need to know here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/06/09/toronto-pride-parade-2016_n_10382624.html Stay Connected to Huffington Post Follow: http://www.twitter.com/HuffPostCanada Like: http://www.facebook.com/HuffPostCanada Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/HuffPostCanada http://www.huffingtonpost.ca
Soderholm explained to pupils that the first session of the forum would be dedicated to the memo written by former Google employee James Damore.
In the memo titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” which the left wing media published after edited it heavily, Damore wrote a detailed theory on the causes of the gender gap in tech. For saying pointing out that men and women are biologically different, Damore was fired from Google.
Soderholm defended the topic, saying it was a “much-needed forum for debate,” however, one pupil at the school, Sarah Cundy, 18, did not believe the topic should be discussed.
“When [Soderholm] was talking about doing this, he said we’ll look at the memo and highlight the pros and cons of his argument,” she said, according to the Guardian. “To hear a teacher say there are any pros at all in the argument did make me feel pretty uncomfortable.”
“I think female and minority students are going to face more issues. I think there will be a rise in sexism, which I would say is already an issue at the school – especially with it being an all-boys school except [for] sixth form,” she added.
Another pupil, Connie Kissock, also 18, agreed.
“As a female student, when I hear male teachers promoting anti-feminist ideas it makes me worry, particularly in an all-male environment,” she said. “Especially among younger students, it can seem like a joke but end up being taken further.”
As a woman I feel completely unwelcome there and I have no idea how unwelcome minorities would feel ffs
Kissock continued by claiming that she “definitely support[s] discussing a broad range of ideas in academic environments,” but believes the events organized by Soderholm have“become an attack on what they see as leftist bias. We’ve had a speaker on women’s antifeminism, we’re going to have one on why all cultures aren’t equal, implying that non-Western cultures are inferior.”
@Sarah_Cundy So freaking fucked up -I went to a lecture at the boy’s Langton with a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago offering a perspective on feminism only to find out that it was called ‘women vs feminism’. Given by a woman called Joanna Williams-her arguments were v problematic!
“The Unsafe Space is a much-needed forum for debate about a host of issues seen from both sides of the ideological spectrum,” Soderholm explained to the Guardian. “We are not interested in fomenting xenophobia, racism or sexism. We are interested in evaluating arguments, not putting stilts under postures.”
Headteacher Matthew Baxter says that the course was created as an attempt to help students prepare for university by discussing ideas and topics outside of the curriculum.
“These are topics which sixth form students routinely discuss in their own time and ones which they should be able to discuss with adults in a school which encourages ‘free speech’ in all the highest academic traditions of such a phrase,” Baxter explains. “This does not mean that inappropriate language is permitted – as this is checked and modelled when students are much younger.”
The school has been the center of controversy before when it invited MILO to speak in 20116, however, the students never got the chance to see the event due to interference from the Department for Education’s (DfE) counter-extremism unit.
The counter-extremism unit had raised concerns over anti-Trump protesters planning to demonstrate against MILO.
“This decision was taken following contact from the DfE counter-extremism unit, the threat of demonstrations at the school by organised groups and members of the public and our overall concerns for the security of the school site and the safety of our community,” a spokesman for The Langton told the Daily Mail at the time.
The spokesman also explained that “within 24 hours of advertising the event, 220 Langton sixth formers had, with parental consent, signed up for the event,” adding that the complaints about the talk were “from people with no direct connection to The Langton.”
It seems that instead of having MILO speak at the school, The Langton has actively joined the fight against censorship and limitation of speech by creating its very own safe space for intellectual thought.
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