Racially motivated bullying increasing in Scottish schools, report finds

According to CRER, instances of racism experienced during school can have detrimental impacts on a young person later in life
According to CRER, instances of racism experienced during school can have detrimental impacts on a young person later in life

ANTI-BULLYING policies are failing to address racism in Scotland’s schools, according to a new report.

The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights’ (CRER) report found that 83% of Scottish schools are failing to record incidents of racially motivated bullying, with 63% failing to use a bullying recording system at all.

The organisation is calling for the reform of anti-bullying policy across the entirety of Scotland’s education system and wants the Scottish Government to institute a mandatory system of reporting.

According to CRER, instances of racism experienced during school can have detrimental impacts on a young person later in life.

“The impact of racism on young people's mental health, wellbeing and sense of belonging and identity cannot be underestimated,” the report stated.

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“There is increasing evidence to demonstrate lifelong effects on physical health; the chronic or repeated stress induced by racism impacts hormonal and neurotransmitter activity with a knock on effect on blood pressure, cholesterol and other physical markers, creating health and mortality inequalities.”

Data gathered between 2020-2021 showed that there were 1198 instances of racially motivated bullying in Scotland’s schools, the highest level recorded to date.

However, CRER insists that the real figure is likely higher due to under-reporting and failures in the recording system.

“Weaknesses in national anti-bullying policy have filtered through to local level, with a decrease in content on racism and race equality over the past 10 years,” a spokesperson for CRER said on Twitter.

“We’re calling for the forthcoming refresh of policy at national level to explicitly embed anti-racism.

“Only 6 areas still provide a way to record racist incidents which don’t constitute bullying, but that system is rarely used.

“There’s no way to track racist graffiti, sharing of far-right extremist materials and other signs that racism is a problem within school populations.”

In 2020, the Scottish Government established the Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme, which brings together experts with the aim of identifying measures which will address racial inequality in schools.

Its findings are expected to advise the government on changes that can be made to address racial discrimination, including curriculum reform and changes to the way racist instances are recorded.