Youngsters from schools in Lancashire and Manchester have helped the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to develop a hard-hitting DVD about racist and religious hate crime and bullying.
The pupils teamed up with the CPS, National Union of Teachers and the Anthony Walker Foundation to create the film.
Twenty students from Accrington Academy were among those involved in devising, scripting and acting out dramatised scenarios of racist and religious hate incidents for the DVD (pictured, right). All the scenarios are based on young people’s real-life experiences.
They also helped to develop an educational resource pack about the issue. It will be used by secondary schools across the country and provides classroom activities designed to increase young people’s understanding of hate crime and prejudice and how to challenge it.
Koser Mahmood, who as well as teaching English at Accrington Academy also acts as the school’s community cohesion co-ordinator, was full of praise for the students who took part in the project.
“They have grown in both awareness and confidence,” she said.
“It was great to see the CPS really interested in what today’s young people are struggling with and giving sound advice that they can use in their everyday lives.
“Racism is an unfortunate reality of our times and by exposing its characteristics and dealing with it head on, a school community can only move forward in a positive way.”
Adeel Malik, a year 9 pupil, said: “We have become a lot more aware of our rights as young people and what we should and should not tolerate. It has become easier to identify these issues now.”
Meanwhile Nazir Afzal, the North West’s chief crown prosecutor, paid tribute to the young people who took part.
“We remain determined to tackle hate crimes by bringing those who commit these crimes before the courts, but education is the key to changing attitudes and preventing prejudice and racist abuse happening in the first place,” he said.
For more details, go to www.cps.gov.uk/northwest/tackling_crime/hate_crime/ CAPTION: Fighting back: A scene from the DVD developed by students from Accrington Academy to help tackle racist and prejudiced attitudes