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Last Updated: Monday, 3 September 2007, 12:49 GMT 13:49 UK
Demo over BNP teacher suspension
Mark Walker (courtesy of the BNP)
Mr Walker is a technology teacher at the school
Up to 50 people have protested outside a County Durham school in support of a teacher who claims to have been suspended for his right-wing views.

Mark Walker, a former British National Party (BNP) election candidate, has been under investigation at Sunnydale Community College since March.

His supporters claim he was suspended for looking at the BNP website on a school computer.

The school denies it has acted because of his political affiliation.

A picket formed at the secondary school on Monday morning as teachers and some students returned for the new term.

Mr Walker has not been suspended because of any political affiliations he may hold
Head teacher Sue Byrne

Protestors, including some parents and pupils, chanted slogans in support of the technology teacher.

BNP spokesman Dr Phil Edwards said: "The reason he's had this action against him was because he allegedly looked at the BNP website on the school's computer.

"It is disgraceful that anyone should be suspended for looking at the website of a perfectly legal political party.

"We are certain this action would not have been taken against someone who had looked at the websites of the Commission for Racial Equality or the Green Party."

Sue Byrne, the school's head teacher, said the claims of political persecution were untrue.

"We are happy to state categorically that Mr Walker has not been suspended because of any political affiliations he may hold. Any suggestion that this is the case is wholly false.

"Beyond that we cannot comment because of our respect for Mr Walker's rights to confidentiality with regard to the terms of his employment."

Mr Walker received 513 votes when he stood as a candidate in the Spennymoor ward for Sedgefield Borough Council in May.




SEE ALSO
BNP teacher 'should be banned'
14 Jul 06 |  Education
Candidate resigns over BNP link
20 Dec 04 |  Suffolk

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