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McArthur: Ministers must look again at how we educate children about racism

August 16, 2013 3:11 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat Education Spokesman Liam McArthur MSP hasLiam McArthurLiam McArthur warned that Ministers need to look again at how we educate children about racism after new figures revealed that more than 1200 racist incidents have been reported at Scottish schools in the last two years.

Freedom of information requests from the Scottish Liberal Democrats uncovered 1274 racist incidents at schools across 24 local authorities. 730 of the incidents reported occurred at primary schools and the remaining 544 at secondary schools.

Outside of the classroom, Scottish Government statistics showed that there were 5,389 racist incidents in Scotland in 2011/12. This was the first increase in five years.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

"We all want to see a fairer society where everyone has the chance to get on in life regardless of their racial or ethnic background. Over the past 5 years we have made real progress in tackling racism but the fact that progress seems to have stalled is a concern.

"I do not doubt the commitment of Ministers and teachers to battling racism but these new figures show that we have a long way to go.

"Addressing these issues starts with education. The fact that so many racist incidents have been reported at Scottish schools over the past two years is a reality check for those who thought that the fight against prejudice was already won.

"This is a hugely important issue. There is a real case for looking again at how we talk to children and young people about racism and teach them that prejudice - in whatever form - is simply not acceptable."