A HEADTEACHER’S heartfelt open letter to parents calling out hate crime and partly blaming the behaviour of politicians for fuelling bullying, has gone viral.

Andy Byers, who leads of Framwellgate School, in Durham, was prompted to pen a letter he said he never thought he would have to write, after unspecified incidents involving pupils – one of which happened outside the school and is being investigated by police.

In it he described Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Donald Trump and Nigel Farage as terrible role models for young people.

The Northern Echo:

Mr Byers’ letter, posted on the school Facebook page has attracted overwhelming support on social media.

He wrote: “This school has students from all faiths (Christian, Muslim, Jewish) and none. We have students who identify as straight, gay and trans, and some who are questioning their sexuality.

“We have students with a range of special educational needs, including those with ASD, and we have students from countries across the globe (Spain, USA, Syria….). Every child who comes to this school deserves to be respected and to be happy. We are proud of them all.

“Unfortunately, over the last few weeks and months, we have been dealing with a number of incidents where a student has not felt happy or respected.

The Northern Echo:

“I have met the parents of this student and felt profound shame that their child had been subject to such bullying from a number of students in my school.”

He added: “It is an inescapable fact that students are exposed to some abhorrent and unpleasant views. Our political leaders, perhaps the worst we have ever seen, espouse many of the things that we are teaching students to be wrong.

“President Trump publicly mocked a disabled journalist and admitted (boasted about) sexual violence against a woman, our possible next Prime Minister has made Islamophobic remarks about the burka and, according to the news, racist comments about the French.

“Jeremy Corbyn tolerates anti-Semitism by allowing those members and MPs who are anti-Semitic to remain within the party, and Nigel Farage, and a depressing number of politicians, have stoked up hatred of immigrants to justify their Brexit ideals. What terrible role models our young people have.”

Mr Byers wrote that many parents took every opportunity to counter hatred and teach their children about tolerance and respect but “sadly, there are some parents who share and agree with these views or leave them unchallenged”.

He said: “Bullying is a terrible thing. It starts with little comments, and bullies, racists and homophobes will usually seek to justify their actions as “just having a laugh” or criticise those who are being bullied as being too sensitive.

“Some national politicians justify their comments as 'speaking directly' or 'using colourful language'. I need to be completely clear here. A 'little comment' or 'joke' about these issues is NOT ACCEPTABLE under any circumstances.”

Last night the post had been shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook.

Commenting on the post, Fiona McGrother wrote: “ A sad reflection of our times but a very well thought out letter. We all have a responsibility to call out bullying and xenophobia whenever we see it so (as a non-fram parent), I support this letter."

Liz Williams added: “Sad reading but very proud that the head of my old school has written this letter. I sincerely hope parents do as asked and discuss with their children.”

Kate Macpherson said: “Be assured that many of us are in full support of what you are doing and trust that our young people will bring real and positive change.”