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How can schools prevent and respond to race and faith targeted bullying?

Race and faith targeted bullying
Mark Kingham Mark Kingham

We focus so much of our time and effort on teaching our children to respect their roots, their heritage, their lineage or their faith. However, when they become victims of bullying related to race and faith, you often find yourself wondering how to help your child not to feel left out or bullied because of the way they look, their culture or their nationality.

As teachers and parents, it is natural to become increasingly concerned about rising levels of bullying incidents. To help combat this, here are some key actions that schools can take, both to prevent and respond to race and faith targeted bullying.

  • Send out an email to all students and parents to remind them of the school ethos and values and remind them too, that the school challenges all forms of bullying and abuse. That email must stress that any reports of racist behaviour will be taken seriously even via social media platforms.
  • Ensure that your anti-bullying policy and cyber safety policies include race and faith targeted bullying This can be posted on your school website so that it is readily available to all members of the school community.
  • Encourage students to be vigilant about bullying, prejudice and abuse, and to report any concerns.
  • During tutor time, in assemblies and through the curriculum, take time to ensure that all students feel that they are all equally cherished, respected and valued. Reassure them that if they have any worries about bullying or abuse, they can speak to teachers and support staff.
  • All members of the school community should be informed that any offensive language or comments will be strictly dealt with.
  • If you are unsure how to handle such situations, then it is important that your school seeks advice. Here are some organisations that may be able to offer additional support: ChildLineSupports, Tell MAMA, crimestoppers-uk.org, org and victimsupport.

Choosing a resource or activity that can help prevent race and faith targeted bullying

You can have a policy to tackle issues relating to bullying, but when it comes to bullying related to race and faith, it can get a bit sensitive. Follow these steps:

  • Ensure that you familiarise yourself with the resource. For instance, if it is a film related to bullying, watch it all the way through.
  • Consider whether the resource may provoke strong reactions in students or if it could lead to conflict. If it does, how will you manage? Also, understand whether you might need additional support either prior to using the resource, during or after the session.
  • Check whether the resource is suitable for the age group.
  • Encourage students to talk to you if they feel uncomfortable during any of the sessions, because bullying related to race and faith need to be tackled delicately.

Not all incidents of bullying due to race, faith and culture need legal intervention. Your first approach should always be to talk openly with your child’s school. Also, don’t forget to ask:

Is your school protected?

A cyber safety solution is an ideal way to secure your school’s networks. Securus is designed to protect pupils and staff on the curriculum network by way of alerting the schools safeguarding team of inappropriate and potentially harmful behaviour.

How to address cultural diversity in the classroom?

Cultural Diversity
Greg Johnson Greg Johnson

Cultural multiplicity and richness enhances the overall learning experience in all areas of life.  In schools, students get the opportunity to mix and work with, and understand others who may be very different from them. Such heterogeneity creates an atmosphere of acceptance and children learn to function in a diverse multicultural and multiethnic environment.

The role of educators and parents in creating a positive environment within the classroom is of utmost importance. If they promote the idea of equality and diversity in a manner that children understand, it will help them to appreciate unique cultural differences, and learn to cherish these, rather than judge them.  Children need to be introduced to the concept of equality and multiculturalism from an early age. A number of teaching methods can be employed to ensure you build an inclusive environment within the classroom. Listed below are a few approaches that can be effective in addressing cultural diversity in the classroom.

Use of diversity in teaching resources

The resources used in the teaching process must include examples from different cultures. If you acquaint students with the concept of diversity through stories, posters and pictures of people from varied cultures, this may help to imbibe a sense of acceptance. Children realise that such differences are normal and not something to approach with fear or apprehension. Populate wall spaces with pictures and information about people from different ethnic backgrounds this will encourage better understanding of the many races and groups that exist in the world.

Activities and integration weeks

Hosting weeks dedicated to particular themes or a culture is an interesting way to introduce children to the idea of diversity. Stories about traditions, festivals and food can be shared during these events. The knowledge and concepts acquired through these activities can be incorporated in other areas of the curriculum to reinforce the idea.

Discussions and debates

Exchanging and discussing ideas about diversity is another effective tool for creating an atmosphere of equality. Kids should be given the opportunity to express their ideas about diversity. Any negative attitude or thought must be discussed. Parents and educators must ensure that children feel comfortable to discuss or report any incidents of discrimination. Building a strong bond in the classroom makes a student feel valued – a sense of belonging develops and they are able to discuss their concerns openly.

The Equality Act of 2010 brings out the legal responsibilities of public bodies including schools to promote equality. Here are Guidelines regarding  equality and inclusion that schools must adhere to. This must not merely be limited to ensuring that discrimination of any form is not practised; rather, attempts should also be made to imbibe healthy values within children.

Another essential goal for building a culturally responsive education system is to encourage children to appreciate their culture. Children from minority ethnic groups may feel pressured to adopt new cultural norms and traditions. However, it’s important to preserve one’s own culture while respecting and accepting others’. A broad and structured approach with emphasis on acceptance and respect can help build an inclusive education system.

Racial discrimination may also take the form of cyber bullying or cyber racism. Schools can employ e-safety solutions to deal effectively with these issues. To find out more about e-Safety solutions, follow Securus Software on Twitter and connect with us on LinkedIn.

Together we can stamp out hate crime

Hate crime
Mark Kingham Mark Kingham

“We are Great Britain because we are united by values such as democracy, free speech, mutual respect and opportunity for all. We are the sum of all our parts – a proud, diverse society. Hatred does not get a seat at the table, and we will do everything we can to stamp it out.”

–  Amber Rudd, Home Secretary

The Home Secretary is absolutely right – but what can we do about it?  On 30th October 2009, Ian Baynham died as a result of a hate crime attack. More than 10,000 people attended a candle-lit vigil in Trafalgar Square after the incident.  The vigil created such an emotional response, that Mark Healey decided to launch the idea of holding a National Hate Crime Awareness Week (NCHAW).  NCHAW, which takes place each October, is not only designed to heighten awareness of this invidious offence, but also offers the opportunity for anyone who knows or suspects hate crime incidents can report them to the police.

Sadly, hate crime is not just limited to adults, but affects our children too. To help teachers effectively deal with hate crime in schools,  the government has published a pack in collaboration with the Crown Prosecution Service, the National Union of Teachers and the Anthony Walker Foundation. This pack is designed to provide a resource that helps schools to promote understanding of what racist and religious hate crimes are.

Here are a few activities that you could be used in the classroom:

Section one

This contains an introductory warm up activity to teach pupils about racially and religiously motivated incidents. The activity is an icebreaking session in the form of a who’s who quiz, it is a photo quiz that looks at stereotyping.  Additionally, a DVD with a series of filmed scenarios is provided for discussion and classroom activities, which is divided into two sections. The first part of the PowerPoint presentation has seven embedded film adaptations that are based on real experiences. It is advisable for teachers to show it to the entire class and only then start the discussion.

During the discussion, you could ask the pupils what happened in the clip and why it is significant. For instance, one of the videos shows a girl covering her head with a hijab (part of a Muslim girl’s religious identity) and boys call her a ‘Paki’. Ask the class how they think the girl felt at the end of the clip. End the session by ensuring that the students have knowledge of Internet safety and reporting procedures.

Section two

The partnership incorporates another DVD for Section two. This plays interviews of young people talking about their experiences – what actually happened to them, and how and why they were discriminated against and bullied. After watching the video, ask your pupils to make notes and discuss their opinions and views on how they could make a difference. Finally, tell the pupils you will be showing them some video clips of people who have advice for them.

Section three

Although these activities are optional and additional, it is worth implementing at least a few of these, as they will deepen the pupils’ understanding of the impact of racist behaviour and help them prevent such incidents. Start by distributing a list of racist and religious hate incidents in school and read through it with the class. Ensure that your pupils understand the issues, give them time to read it and ask if they have any questions. Most importantly, explain the concept of hate crime to students and its legal consequences.

However, you won’t necessarily witness hate crimes only on school premises. Internet hate crime is also on the rise.  The Internet has brought us many positive things, so it is important that we present a balanced view of the Internet to our children. If you would like to learn more about an e-Safety solution that provides students with a secure on-line learning environment and help to combat hate crimes in schools, contact us today.

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