TEACHERS IN Wales have expressed their concerns over growing racist attitudes in classrooms with children as young as eight using racist insults against their peers.
A report published by the charity Show Racism the Red Card Wales, has warned of a “growing tide of racist attitudes among young people”.
The 38-page document claims the one in four teachers polled had dealt with a racist incident at their school in the past year. The consultation was a survey answered by 435 teachers.
Some of the offensive comments that teachers recalled hearing include one Bangladeshi student being told “he was in ISIS” and questioned over whether he had a visa following the Brexit vote.
Other incidents recorded include a female pupil being targeted because she wears a headscarf and a black British pupil being told to “go back to your own country.”
Disturbing attitudes amongst young people revealed deep-seated prejudices and labelling of immigrants as “people who cause riots,” “bombers, terrorists” and “people who are trying to hurt us”.
The report highlighted a lack of confidence amongst teachers in challenging such behaviour and attitudes especially when it came to completing racial discrimination incident reports to senior staff.
One teacher explained: “The problem is political – the higher up the chain of command you go the fewer people want such matters recorded – I’ve been asked ‘are you sure you want this recorded as a racist incident’ far too many times, the culture needs to change higher up”.
Show Racism the Red Card Wales has called on urgent action and for schools to increase efforts to address racism.
“In the past few months we have received an increase in schools contacting us for support of which 70 percent were due to schools reporting a racist incident,” it said in a statement.
“The charity believes that tackling these issues are not a priority for some local authorities and that not enough is being done to challenge these issues and attitudes through the current education system and call for urgent action from the Welsh government to support young people and teachers in Wales.”
Campaign manager, Sunil Patel, told Wales Online: “It is deeply worrying that racist hate complaints have increased dramatically since the EU referendum result. Racism had been on the increase across Wales even before the vote and the consistent negative reporting of migrants has fuelled the resentment.
“We have been noticing anti-immigration views expressed by pupils in schools from as young as eight years old, and our office has been contacted by teachers who are not confident in tackling racist incidents that are occurring on a more frequent basis. We are extremely concerned and call for urgent action to support and protect young people in Wales.”