UK: GCSE student disqualified because she criticised halal meat in Religious Studies exam

Examiner had taken her 'disgusting' comment on halal butchers to be Islamophobic 

Monday 19 August - A GCSE pupil was disqualified after examiners mistook her vegetarian views on Halal meat for Islamophobia.  

Abigail Ward, 16, who attends Gildredge House school in Eastbourne, East Sussex, was told by exam board OCR that she had made 'obscene racial comments' while answering her Religious Studies exam in June.

On the subject of halal butchers, the student had written, '...which I find absolutely disgusting.' 

In an appeal, her school explained that her comment was in relation to her vegetarian beliefs, not her opinions on Muslims. 

Her mother, Layla Ward, said the examiner has been 'over-zealous, over-righteous'.

The 36-year-old said the family were shocked by the decision to disqualify her daughter, and the exam board has since been overturned the decision.

She said:  'Abbey is an animal lover and a very strict vegetarian. 

'It made me angry … when asked a question in the exam, you can't even express your feelings. 

'It's great that it has been overturned, but it should never have happened.' 

In a statement, OCR said it has apologised to Abbey, adding that its initial conclusion was incorrect and 'too harsh'.

Editor's comment - The mainstream media has compounded the original error, adding insult to injury, by publishing the name of the 16-year-old pupil as well as the name of her school. Given the propensity for Muslims to riot and murder over any perceived slight or grievance, she should be suing for substantial compensation for loss of privacy.

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