Edinburgh primary school under fire for sectarian cartoon character


SCHOOL bosses have been forced to apologise after an offensive poster showing a cartoon character created by the Orange Order was put up in a primary school.

The gaffe was revealed after the poster was broadcast on national television earlier this week.

‘Diamond Dan the Orange Man’, a cartoon character created to win over younger generations to the organisation, was on a literacy poster in Edinburgh’s Granton Primary.

Teacher Katie Walters with the controversial poster

The council was flooded with angry complaints after the poster appeared behind teacher Katie Watters as she was being interviewed on a drive to improve literacy and numeracy in trainee teachers.

Though Diamond Dan was widely used by the Orange order, in Granton Primary he was rebranded as Captain Capital.

Beside him are Sensible Spaceman and PC Full Stop, characters created to help children read.

Edinburgh council’s education leader insisted the character was used by accident and has issued an apology.

Republican organisation The Connolly Foundation said it was inundated with angry phone calls and emails after Tuesday’s programme.

Chairman Jim Slaven said: “It really is incredible that an image such as this with such strong ties to an organisation such as the Orange Order somehow found its way into one of the city’s schools.

“The council obviously need to take care of what material is being issued.

“Some folk may feel that this is harmless but would they say the same if it was a cartoon used by the BNP of the KKK?”

It is understood the poster was created at home by a teacher at the school in a well-intentioned attempt to re-use the image without any sectarian associations.

Diamond Dan the Orange Man was launched in 2008 by the Orange Order, a protestant organisation which traces its roots to the 17th Century battle between William of Orange and the Catholic King James.

The character’s name was chosen from more than 120 entries in a competition, with Edinburgh primary school pupil Steven Mitchell putting forward the winning suggestion. Speaking on the launch of the cartoon superhero in 2008, David Hume, the Order’s director of services, said: “The name Diamond Dan has resonance going back more than 200 years to the formation of the institution at the Diamond, Loughall, in 1795.

“Dan Winter was one of the founding fathers of the Order.

“And of course, apart from the historical aspect of the name, it has a good ring to it.”

Dave Scott, of anti-sectarianism charity Nil by Mouth, also said his organisation had received calls and emails about the poster.

He said: “This cartoon character is clearly the same one used by the Orange Order.

“I would like to think that it hasn’t been used in a sectarian manner.

“What I think this issue highlights is a level of naivety on the east coast regarding sectarianism and bigotry.”

The poster has now been removed and assurances have been given it will not appear in any other schools.

Councillor Paul Godzik, the city’s education convener, said: “I have been assured that this was a genuine error made by a member of staff at the school who was unaware of how the image had previously been used.

“I am clear that the use of the image is not appropriate in our schools.

“The poster, which was only displayed at Granton Primary School, has now been removed and we apologise for any offence caused.”