New resources, including an interactive toolkit, aimed at helping schools to tackle racially motivated and other prejudicial behaviour, have been launched by the four Hampshire and Isle of Wight local authorities and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office.
Councillor Roz Chadd, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Education and Skills, said:
School communities have a vital role to play in developing respect and tolerance for diversity in society. If this can be fostered in children and young people, it can help lead to safer communities in the future and bring about a reduction in hate crime. I was very pleased to hear that young people from schools in Hampshire have helped in the formation of these new materials, contributing their own ideas and challenging adults’ misconceptions, as well as promoting good practice in their own schools.”
Unless prejudicial language and behaviours in schools are challenged, we run the risk that it will contribute to intolerance. By tackling the problem consistently and effectively, schools will contribute to reducing stereotypical and negative attitudes which are at the root of hate crime.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, said:
I am delighted that we were part of the wider partnership that developed this new toolkit.
Prejudicial language and behaviour can quickly escalate into something much more serious and harmful – as latest national figures show, hate crime is on the rise in our society. As the world gets smaller, our communities will become much more diverse and richer, and it is therefore important to tackle prejudicial behaviours early through intervention and education to prevent today’s young citizens from becoming tomorrow’s offenders.
NSPCC research (published May 2019), based on responses to Freedom of Information requests from 38 of the United Kingdom’s 43 police forces, has found that race hate crime against children has reached a three-year high.
Schools have a statutory duty to record racist incidents. However, this does not include other types of prejudicial incidents towards those with a protected characteristic e.g. sexual orientation or disability.
The new resources aim to support schools in responding and tackling prejudicial language and behaviours, both proactively and reactively. The toolkit will enable schools in each of the four local authority areas to track and record incidents more effectively as well as respond appropriately and, in turn, measure the impact of interventions.
Additionally, through a pupil survey, children and young people will have a voice that will provide additional information about pupils’ experiences, which can help to generate greater understanding about the data collected using the tracking tool.
Information for parents and carers will also be available, which clarifies the nature of prejudicial language and behaviour and the impact it can have on children and young people.
The overall aim of the initiative is to support schools in developing and nurturing positive attitudes towards diversity, both with the children and young people in their care and in the wider community. It will also assist schools in their statutory duty under the Equality Act to “foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.”
Photo: Stock image of Children as part of a community