Incidents of racism in schools up post-Brexit

Written by: Greg Lewis | Published:
Image: Adobe Stock

The number of racist incidents in Welsh schools has “increased dramatically” since the Brexit referendum result, with racist language being used by children as young as eight, according to a leading anti-racism charity.

Show Racism the Red Card said that one-in-four teachers in Wales has dealt with a racist incident in the past year.
The charity has consulted young people and 435 teachers from across Wales to ask them about their experiences of witnessing racism in and around school.

The survey found that over the last 12 months, teachers in Wales reported a range of racist abuse, including:

  • A Polish child who was told “they weren’t wanted around here and they should go back to where they came from”.
  • Following the Brexit vote, a Bangladeshi student “was asked if he ‘had a Visa’ and was told that ‘he was in ISIS’”.
  • “Frequent use of the term ‘pikey’ among the pupils”.
  • “Parents of a White British family told their daughter to tell the Black British child at break-time ‘to go back to their own country’.

It was not just the children who were the victims of abuse. One teacher in Monmouthshire told the charity that a pupil made comments to a Muslim member of staff about skin colour.

Show Racism the Red Card Wales said its survey highlighted a “lack of confidence, training and support among teachers”.

One teacher said that they “did not feel well trained and confident when completing racial discrimination incident reports to senior staff and the local authority”.

There was an “overwhelming agreement” that anti-racism education should be integrated into the curriculum, with 90 per cent of teachers surveyed strongly believing that this was the way forward.

Another teacher said: “I’ve been trying to do this for years – I think it is of the utmost importance. However, staff mostly avoid conversations about race, religion etc for fear of ‘opening a can of worms’.”

Responding to the findings, Sunil Patel, campaign manager for Show Racism the Red Card Wales, said: “It is deeply worrying that racist hate complaints have increased dramatically since the EU referendum result.

“Racism had been on the increase across Wales even before the vote and the consistent negative reporting of migrants has fuelled the resentment.

“We have been noticing anti-immigration views expressed by pupils in schools from as young as eight-years-old and our office has been contacted by teachers who are not confident in tackling racist incidents that are occurring on a more frequent basis. We are extremely concerned and call for urgent action to support and protect young people in Wales.”


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