Since over 2,200 cases have been recorded in schools over the past three years, MINISTERS have been encouraged to do more to deter racial discrimination and enforce mandatory recording of violence.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats’ Freedom of Information request reported at least 2,251 cases of racism in schools between the school years 2017-18 and 2019-20.
The highest number of reported incidents was registered by Glasgow City Council at 642, while Edinburgh had 490. With three, all of which occurred in 2017-18, Orkney reported the lowest number of incidents. According to the Lib Dems, West Lothian, Highland and Falkirk councils did not respond.
Despite the approach endorsed by the United Nations, a Scottish charity has called on ministers to rethink their opposition to the implementation of mandatory documentation of racial incidents in schools.
Beatrice Wishart, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, said the statistics revealed that “racist incidents remain a persistent stain on the Scottish schools landscape.”
“She added: “It is important to counter all types of bullying effectively. Which means accurate bullying recording and tracking so that the proper steps can be taken to root out these incidents.
The campaign Black Lives Matter has inspired us all to think about racial inequality and focus on the history of Scotland itself.
Calls for education in Scottish schools to be anti-racist.
“On the whole, Scotland is a great place to live, but if we learn the lessons of the past, we can do even better in the future.”
Jatin Haria, chief executive of the Scottish Social Equality and Rights Alliance for Charities (CRER), said changes to the SEEMiS IT programme, which tracks discriminatory incidents in schools, may have led to the spike in statistics.
He added, “We have reason to believe, however, that these numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. Racist incidents in schools and similar hate crimes often go unreported in the broader community.”
We agree that a mandatory approach to documenting events is also required, in addition to working to promote reporting. With data obtained, evaluated and released annually by the Scottish Government, CRER continues to support the implementation of mandatory documentation of racial incidents and prejudice-based bullying in Scotland’s schools.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Commission on Equality and Human Rights in Scotland have both called for action, but the Scottish Government has not acknowledged the need for a compulsory approach so far. This is important because governments can not efficiently find ways of protecting discriminatory children and young people without better data.
Crucially, to discourage racial bullying, more proactive action needs to be taken in all Scottish schools. This must be focused on strong, well-tested methods that work to reduce bias actively.
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said, “Bullying is totally unacceptable in any form and we must be vigilant in tackling racist and offensive behavior in schools.”
“Where it occurs, it must be challenged by educating children across all faiths and belief systems to ensure they learn tolerance, respect and equality.”