Sixth form students at a Kent grammar school are set to be given an “unsafe space” in which they can read Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Canterbury, which has previously invited former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos to speak there, said it will take part in a forum designed as “an antidote to political correctness”.
While pupils will not study Adolf Hitler’s racist treatise directly, the school’s headmaster, Matthew Baxter, said it would nonetheless be incorporated into a wider debate.
The school’s “unsafe space” is a direct repudiation of the much-derided “safe spaces” seen on campuses in recent years. These are areas in which people can go in confidence that they will not be exposed to discriminatory, critical or emotionally harmful ideas.
Another topic to be discussed at the school is the idea that “not all cultures are created equal”. Another class is set to discuss the controversial memo sent by a Google employee before he was dismissed, in which he argued about the innate abilities of women and men.
“The Unsafe Space is a much-needed forum for debate about a host of issues seen from both sides of the ideological spectrum,” said Professor James Soderholm, director of humanities at the school, speaking to The Guardian.
“We are not interested in fomenting xenophobia, racism or sexism. We are interested in evaluating arguments, not putting stilts under postures.”
Baxter added: “These are topics which sixth form students routinely discuss in their own time and ones which they should be able to discuss with adults in a school which encourages free speech in all the highest academic traditions of such a phrase. This does not mean that inappropriate language is permitted – as this is checked and modelled when students are much younger.”