A record number of schoolchildren across the UK were subject to social exclusion owing to racial bullying, with analysts demanding the government intervene urgently to tackle this alarming trend of bullying and bigotry in schools.
According to a report in the Guardian. Almost 4,590 cases of racial bullying among schoolchildren were reported in 2017, leading to a permanent or temporary exclusion of the children involved, much higher than 4,085 cases reported in the previous year. Social exclusion is a form of suspension that head teachers in schools across England exercise when a student repeatedly fails to behave appropriately with peers or engages in other activities barred by the school. The exclusion is of two types: fixed term and permanent.
The increase of more than 500 cases is the highest leap in the figures after a decade, remaining relatively stable in 2008-2009. Analysts believe the number of incidents are mounting at a quicker rate, much faster than the student population growth rate in Britain. Teachers, MPs and charity organisations have expressed concerns, calling the Department for Education and Ofsted to intervene and initiate necessary actions.
Behaviour not deemed appropriate by schools could be similar to the one in a recent viral video that showed a student bullying and physically assaulting another refugee student at a school Huddersfield, UK.
Experts believe this escalation in bigotry and racial bullying is a by-product of the increasing hate crimes in Britain. They further added that the decision of the coalition government to remove schools from the duty of monitoring racist bullying in premises is also one of the major reasons. However, some believed that the zero-tolerance approach to racist incidents could have caused the spike, hinting that such incidents went under the radar earlier.
The findings were also echoed by another dataset collected by The Guardian in which they surveyed 39 local authorities and found increasing number of racist incidents, climbing from 2,694 to 3,651 in the last three years.
In Glasgow, the number of incidents in local authority-run schools escalated from 35 to 195, while in Rochdale, the number of reports doubled from 215 to 407. The findings also indicated that the majority of offenders were male.
Chris Keates, the general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Woman Teachers, said: “[Our] own research shows that overt and covert instances of racism are a daily fact of life for far too many black and minority ethnic pupils and teachers.”
Labour MP David Lammy said the stats mirrored the attitude and treatment of the Conservative government towards migrants. He said, “The government’s hostile environment is driving migrants to overdoses, suicide attempts, fainting and chest pain… We need to radically reform our immigration system in a way that is just and humane.”
Finding of the Guardian also mirror the claims of Childline, a charity organisation that children as young as nine have contacted the organisation for racial and religion-based bullying. The organisation claims of conducting almost 2,500 counselling sessions in the last three years for Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Black students, indicating the dire need to take necessary measures in order to curb racism and bigotry.