A spelling mistake has led to a 10-year-old Muslim schoolboy being interviewed by British police over suspected links to terrorism.
The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, mistakenly wrote that he lived in a “terrorist house” instead of a “terraced house” during an English lesson at his primary school in Accrington, Lancashire back in December.
His teachers did not realise it was an error and reported the student to the police, in accordance with the 2015 Counter-Terrorism and Security Act, which states that teachers are obliged to alert the authorities to any suspected terrorist behavior.
Seriously? Police interviewing a young boy and examining the family laptop? Because of a spelling mistake?
— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) January 20, 2016
The following day, officers showed up at the pupil’s home to question him and examine his family’s laptop.
The boy’s family initially thought the police were joking, but according to his cousin, the 10-year-old was traumatized by the experience.
“You can imagine it happening to a 30-year-old man, but not to a young child,” the boy’s cousin, who cannot be named, told BBC News. “If the teacher had any concerns it should have been about his spelling.
“They shouldn’t be putting a child through this. He’s now scared of writing, using his imagination.”
His family have since called on the police and the school to apologize, according to BBC News.
The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act means schools have a duty to prevent their students from being radicalized.
However, critics have argued that the legislation forces schools and teachers to overreact for fear of breaking the law.