A teacher at Eton College attacked “the progressive ideology” with which he believes that students are “brainwashed” in the elite school.
Dr Luke Martin resigned his role as leader of the ‘perspectives’ classes after his colleague Will Knowland was fired following a controversial gender roles lecture intended for one of these lessons.
The theology professor accused Principal Simon Henderson of presiding over an atmosphere of “religious fundamentalism”, where deviations can lead to mockery or “formal discipline”.
Will Knowland was fired following a controversial gender roles lecture intended for one of these lessons.
Eton College, pictured, has been charged with ‘religious fundamentalism’ after teacher fired for planning to give ‘questionable lecture’ to students
Mr Knowland, an English teacher, had wanted to give a questionable lecture to boys in which he cited incorrect statistics on rape and cited with approval an article saying that women wanted to be “overwhelmed by the sheer power of masculinity”.
The lecture, called the Patriarchy Paradox, was never used in a classroom but was uploaded to Mr. Knowland’s personal YouTube page, where there is also a video of him weightlifting.
Mr Knowland refused to remove the video and was sacked, but has since raised tens of thousands of pounds to support an employment tribunal.
Many students are calling for his reinstatement, including a boy who was sent home after writing to Mr Henderson asking him to resign. But other figures, including Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, who initially backed Mr Knowland, have distanced themselves after being told what the actual content of his lecture was.
Dr Martin, in his letter posted online by a supporter of Mr Knowland, said he was stepping down from the ruling classes of prospects.
He said he did not agree with Mr Knowland’s remarks, but added: “Why should I? The point of perspectives is that boys are exposed to a variety of perspectives, some of which they will not agree with. He said Mr. Knowland had expected another staff member to give a lecture offering the opposite view, but that a teacher had “declined the invitation”.
Eton manager Simon Henderson, pictured, has come under fire for his decision to sack Mr Knowland
Dr Martin has argued Mr Henderson is monitoring a ‘worrying trend’ at the £ 42,500 a year school which counts Princes William and Harry among its old boys.
He added: “There is a growing promotion of a so-called ‘progressive’ ideology, which claims to be inclusive, tolerant and kind.
But what has occurred to me over the past few years is that it is remarkably similar, in one particular respect, to the forms of religious fundamentalism that I know of. If you do not agree, you are excluded; if you think differently, you are not tolerated; and if you raise objections, you laugh at it or face formal discipline.
“I am increasingly concerned that some schools, including Eton, are moving to a point where it will be accurate to say that they are trying to indoctrinate their students in this worldview.”
Dr Martin then requested that Mr Knowland be reinstated. In an open letter, Mr Knowland said: “I have taken a stand for my freedom to express information but also, and more importantly, for the freedom of boys to receive it. “
Eton strongly denies that the case is an attack on free speech, but more directly concerns discipline among employees and the preservation of the school’s reputation.
A spokesperson for Eton said Dr Martin’s letter was received by the vice-provost, who is chairing Mr Knowland’s appeal hearing. Dr Martin could not be reached for comment.
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