London: British police drove up to a seven- year-old Muslim boy's home after his school alerted them over a piece of brass they mistook for a bullet, prompting the family to allege that it was a case of "racial profiling".
West Midlands Police were contacted by St. Edward's Catholic Primary School in Birmingham after a pupil alerted teachers to the boy's claims that the brass cylinder was "a bullet" for a rifle, 'The Sunday Times' reported.
West Midlands police confirmed that officers went to the family's home - whose identity cannot be revealed - after the school reported a pupil had brought a bullet into the class.
The item was examined and found not to be a bullet and no further action was taken, police said.
The boy's mother, who refused officer's requests to interview the boy, accused the school of "racial profiling" and said it would have reacted differently "had my son been a white kid".
"I don't think the school would have escalated it if we were not Muslim. It was almost as though we needed to prove our innocence rather than they would need to prove that they had a reasonable basis for questioning us or proving our guilt," she said.
Explaining why she had refused to let police speak to her son after the incident on 17 October, she told the newspaper: "I said to the officer, no, you're not speaking to a seven- year-old and you are not going to question him. I've never been in such a situation before and I wasn't entirely sure of my rights. It was intimidating."
The school, which has apologised to the family, insisted that the pupil's ethnicity played no part in its response, and it had a duty to report the incident.
Joanne Kennett, the head teacher at St. Edward's, said: "We have apologised to the child's mother for any distress
that this had caused to the family.
"We also explained that because the child had mentioned that there was a rifle, we had a duty to refer the incident to our local authority safeguarding hub and police.
"As a Catholic school, all our children are treated equally and we pride ourselves on the diversity of our pupil intake and community. There have been disclosures made of a similar nature from children who were not from Muslim families and the same course of action has been taken.
First Published On : Nov 6, 2016 17:51 IST