A school in England is facing backlash after it sent a letter to parents threatening to add a "racial discrimination note" to the file of any student who failed to attend a workshop about Islam. The note, the letter explained, would "remain on this file throughout their school career."
Some of the students are as young as 8-years-old.
The Littleton Green Community School in Staffordshire, England, quickly retracted the threat after outraged parents and the local council objected.
"I was shocked by the letter. To be told my kids have got to attend this workshop is disgusting," Tracy Ward, a mother of four, told the Telegraph. "Everyone should have a choice, but that's my opinion and I don't want a stain on my kids' record as a result…"
Another parent, 55-year-old Gillian Claridge, said parents were told they have to pay for the trip as well, which was "just a kick in the teeth."
"How dare they threaten to brand the children racist at such a young age. It's going to make them feel like little criminals," the parent added.
The Telegraph provides the original Nov. 20 letter sent by the school:
As part of the National Religious Education Curriculum together with the multicultural community in which we live, it is a statutory requirement for Primary School aged children to experience and learn about different cultures.
The workshop is at Staffordshire University and will give your child the opportunity to explore other religions.
Children will be looking at religious artefacts similar to those that would be on display in a museum. they will not be partaking in any religious practices.
Refusal to allow your child to attend this trip will result in a Racial Discrimination note being attached to your child's education record, which will remain on this file throughout their school career.
As such our expectations are that all children in years 4 and 6 attend school on Wednesday 27th November to take part in this trip.
All absences on this day will be investigated for their credibility and will only be sanctioned witha GP sick note.
If you would like to discuss this further please contact our RE Coordinator, Mrs Edmonds.
Outrage quickly ensued, causing school officials to change their tune.
A Staffordshire County Council spokesperson told the Telegraph that "it is important for children to find out more about different cultures" but "parents also have a right to withdraw their children from religious activities."
"Clearly it is not appropriate for comments about racial discrimination to be made in these circumstances," the spokesperson said.