Schools to use photographs of Harold Shipman and John Sentamu in 'toolkit' to tackle racism and hate crime
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Monday 15 October 2012
Photographs of the mass murderer Harold Shipman and the Archbishop John Sentamu are to be used as classroom tools in a new pack to help schools to tackle racism and hate crime.
The images, alongside those of the train robber Ronald Biggs and Baroness Warsi, will be used to hammer home messages about racial stereotyping in a series of suggested classroom exercises.
The toolkit, to be launched later this week, was produced by the National Union of Teachers, the CPS and the Anthony Walker Foundation - set up to commemorate a murdered teenage victim of a race crime.
It will suggest racist behaviour on the sports field should always be challenged and that it is essential schools in all-white areas adopt a policy of tackling prejudice to deal with myths that may have grown up.
Pupils are also encouraged to write their own poems or essays about how it might feel to be a victim of racism or religious hate crime after watching a series of DVD's which include a Polish girl facing cyberbullying because of her race and a Muslim being ostracised and called a "paki" in the classroom.
One example cites a black pupil who says: "In class, like, when they switch the lights off, they go like 'where's Mleki?' or something like that.
"I didn't take it too seriously but like it did happen quite frequently so they did start to hurt my feelings and stuff."
A CPS spokesman said: "People can suffer serious harm, and even murder because of ther skin colour, their ethnic background or their religion.
"Other members of the same group, family or community are made to feel threatened and intimidated as well.
"The offenders often see themselves as being supported by their own family and community who agree with their racist views. This gives them a false sense of their own superiority."
It suggests older pupils should conduct a debate on the motion: "This house believes racist behaviour on the sports field should always be challenged."
The pack goes on to urge teachers to try and convince pupils they should be "upstanders" and not "bystanders" whenever a pupil is being racially abused and resist racist behaviour and report it.
It adds: "In all-white areas or mainly white areas the children may not have had contact with diverse communities and may have picked up racist attitudes and misinformation. this makes it all the more important for schools in these areas to introduce anti-prejudice programmes.".
Pupils are given a definition of racism as "something someone does or says that offends someone else in connection wit their colour, background, culture, religion, nationality or immigration status".
The pack will be officially launched in Birmingham on Friday when poet Benjamin Zephaniah will give an annual memorial lecture in Anthony's name - sponsored by the NUT.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: "Racism either in schools or our communities needs to be eradicated.
"As multiculturism is being attacked on a daily basis, we need to celebrate thediversity of modern Britain and work together to raise children who are proud of themselves and their communities."
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