UK: Police Investigate Councillor Over Racist School Remarks

John Cherry, the now former member of the West Sussex County Council, is being investigated by the Sussex Police for expressing allegedly racist thoughts about a proposed boarding school which will accept 600 students from inner-city London. First reported in the Mail on Sunday, Cherry said that minority families don’t value hard work and that the school – where students will be allowed to board for free from Monday to Friday – will be “a sexual volcano.”

According to the spokesman for the police department, two complaints about the delivered remarks were received and the investigation was launched. Since his heavily- criticized remarks, Cherry has resigned his position and issued an apology.

He told The Mail on Sunday: “Ninety-seven per cent of pupils will be black or Asian. It depends what type of Asian. If they’re Chinese they’ll rise to the top. If they’re Indian they’ll rise to the top. If they’re Pakistani they won’t.” He added: “If the children are not allowed out of the site then it will make them want to escape into the forest – it will be a sexual volcano.” “The trauma of taking the children out of their natural surroundings is going to be considerable.”

He added that Stockwell, the South London neighborhood where the school will be based, was predominantly a “a coloured area – I have no problem with that,” saying that the local children would probably benefit more from the government taking over a secondary school instead. They are opening the board school will be an offshoot of the Durant Academy and take advantage of the former site of St Cuthman’s boarding school.

Durant Academy is itself currently under review by the National Audit Office. The report on the school – which is predicted to be critical of the plan – is expected as early as this week.

Durand Academy owns St Cuthman’s, a former boarding school, in Stedman, West Sussex, and applied for permission to develop it and use it as a boarding unit for its pupils. Buying the school building and land cost Durand more than £3 million, and the development would be more costly still. As an academy, Durand runs on public money but is independent of its local council. Sussex residents objecting to the plan have challenged its spending on the boarding project, and asked Margaret Hodge, the Labour chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, to investigate.

Although Durand’s plan has met a lot of resistance both from local residents and Conservative politicians, Tory Education Minister Michael Gove has expressed his strong support for the venture.