A FATHER has spoken of his anger after a teacher used his nine-year-old son’s report card to call him a ‘numpty’.
Primary school pupil Ismaeel Star showed his father Star Mahmood the behavioural chart where his maths teacher had written: ‘Good. Stop shouting answers too early! Numpty! Mr C.”
Father-of-six Mr Mahmood rang Mount Pellon Primary School in Halifax to complain and spoke to headteacher Tim Richards who told him that the teacher hadn’t meant the word to be offensive and that the “matter was closed”.
But Ismaeel’s father wants a letter of apology, criticising the teacher who he claims told his son that the word was “good” when the year five pupil asked him what it meant.
Mr Mahmood, 46, of Halifax, who previously was employed as a youth worker, said: “I’m disgusted with the whole incident.
“Ismaeel came home with a report card. When I read it myself, I couldn’t believe it when I saw the word ‘numpty’ written down. What on earth was the teacher thinking?
“I’m firstly angry that the word was used in the first place and even written down.
“But I’m also annoyed at the way the situation has been handled. When Ismaeel asked his teacher what the word meant, he was told it was a ‘good word’.
“When I rang the headteacher to complain, he told me - without even consulting the teacher who’d written the report - that the word hadn’t been meant in an offensive way.
“To me, it is offensive. I don’t want my son using that word and thinking it is okay.
“I want a written apology but so far they’ve not given me one.
“The teachers make pupils apologise when they’ve done something wrong, so they should practice what they preach.”
Mr Mahmood, who is married to Akhsar Bi, 40, added: “I rang the headteacher and he said that was the end of the matter as far as he was concerned, and that I would need to write a letter if I wanted it to be taken further.
“I then got a phone call from the maths teacher, who also said he hadn’t meant it in a bad way.
“But it’s not good enough for me - I want a written apology.”
Mr Mahmood added: “Ismaeel is upset. I’ve told him that it’s not a nice word. He enjoyed maths before and was shouting out because he was enthusiastic. That’s no reason to call him a numpty.
“If a word can be read in an offensive way, then you shouldn’t use it.”
Mr Mahmood then received a letter from the headteacher, who told him: “I have looked into the meaning of the word a little and the BBC website confirms that: ‘Numpty. Gentle word. Very gentle word”.
The letter continued: “I think I would have taken it in the spirit in which it was meant, had that been supportive as in this case.
“I am aware that this word that is in quite common usage and tends to be a friendly expression that is used in an empathetic, supportive and non-judgemental way.”
But Mr Mahmood said: “The Oxford English Dictionary definition of “numpty” is: “a stupid or ineffectual person.
“I’m not the only person who would hear the word and think it was bad.”
Ismaeel, who enjoys maths and finds it easy, said he felt sad after learning what ‘numpty’ meant.
The school would not comment until Mr Mahmood’s complaint was put in writing.