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88,000 racism incidents reported in UK schools between 2007-2011

London, Wed, 23 May 2012 ANI

London, May 23 (ANI): Almost 88,000 racist incidents have been reported in schools in Britain between 2007 and 2011, according to figures.

The data obtained under the Freedom of Information from 90 areas have revealed that almost 87,915 cases of racist bullying, including physical abuse, have been reported in the country.

Birmingham reported the highest number of racist incidents with 5,752, followed by Leeds at 4,690, The BBC reports.

However, Camarthenshire had the lowest number of cases with just five reported.etween 2007 and 2010, racist incidents in schools in England, Scotland and Wales rose from 22,285 to 23,971.

Sarah Soyei, of the anti-racism educational charity, Show Racism the Red Card (SRRC), said: "Racism is a very real issue in many classrooms around the country, but cases of racist bullying are notoriously underreported".

"Often teachers may not be aware of racism in their classrooms because victims are scared of reporting them out of fear of making the situation worse," she added.

Teaching unions have said that the key to tackle the problem in schools is through education for both teachers and students.

Charities have started giving anti-racism lessons in schools across the country in an attempt to educate young people against racism.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "Racism needs to be rooted out wherever it occurs, and particularly in schools, where every child has the right to learn in an environment free from prejudice".

"It is teachers and parents, not central government, that know what is happening in their schools, and they are best placed to deal with racist behaviour when it happens, the spokesman added. (ANI)

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Richard Wilcocks

May 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Sarah Sorei, quoted in your article, makes an excellent point - .."cases of racist bullying are notoriously underreported." The number of racist incidents in school across the whole spectrum, from name-calling to serious physical violence, is reported diligently in some education authorities but not in others. I live in Leeds, which has come out near the top of the list for racist incidents.

This does not mean that children are more racist in Leeds schools than in other places (rather less so, I would guess) but it suggests that Leeds is more diligent in the recording process. I know that Leeds has been particularly active in favour of race equality and community cohesion over the past few years, because until last year I was the editor of 'Harmony' news magazine, which was a termly publication for teachers involved with the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard, which had three quarters of all Leeds schools (from nurseries through to sixth forms) engaged with it through Education Leeds. The Standard is continuing with the new Leeds Children's Services, which took over from Education Leeds last March.

As editor, I visited many schools in all parts of the city and interviewed large numbers of children, because we tried to see things through their eyes as much as possible. It was normal for the emphasis to be on celebrations - of cultural diversity, of the value of racial harmony - and of a deeper understanding of the heritage and background of fellow students. I came across plays, dance-displays, food-tastings, concerts, art exhibitions, events centred on visits by visitors from overseas (including some from India) and listened to inspiring poems and stories. The creative arts were harnessed for the cause of peace and understanding, and they contributed to making schools happier.

A happy school achieves more, as most teachers know, and a happy school is one with an active anti-bullying policy,which involves gathering information on racist bullying, amongst other strategies, so that appropriate action can be taken.



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