Mum calls for action on racism in Powys schools

Reporter:

Keri Trigg

The mother of a 10-year-old girl who says her daughter was subjected to racist bullying at a Montgomeryshire school has called for more to be done to tackle racism among children.

Her plea comes as new figures reveal how the number of racist incidents reported by primary school teachers to Powys County Council (PCC) has more than doubled in one year.

The mum says her daughter suffered persistent abuse from other pupils – including use of the N-word – but they “weren’t really disciplined at all”.

Incensed by the lack of action to resolve her daughter’s case, she put in a Freedom of Information request to Powys County Council which revealed eight incidents of racism have been reported to the authority so far in 2017 – and the figure is going up.

“My daughter suffered quite a lot of racism in school and the school didn’t handle it very well,” said the concerned parent.

“It has had a massive effect on my daughter. It was the words that were being used – she was being called the N-word and all sorts of things.

“These are not words that 10-year-old children would just know, those words have come from home.”

The incidents were reported to the school but the girl’s mother said the bullying continued, until she removed her daughter from the school.

“The children responsible weren’t really disciplined at all,” she said.

“Two incidents involved the same child.

“It was all swept under the carpet, it was pretty disgusting. It was almost as if we were being called liars.

“There was no apology to my daughter or myself.”

Then, in August, the mother’s attention was caught by a County Times report into school exclusions, which came as the result of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, and showed that a primary school child was suspended in the 2016-2017 academic year for racial harassment.

Our investigation found that over the last five years, five primary school pupils and 12 high school students across the county were suspended for the same reason.

She decided to dig further into how much of a problem racism is becoming at Powys schools by submitting an FOI request of her own.

The figures she received revealed that in 2013, there were just two racist incidents at primary schools reported to PCC. This number was the same in 2014, and rose to three in 2015 and 2016.

But in 2017 – with more than two months of the school year still to go – there have been eight reported incidents.

Powys County Council was contacted but declined to comment on the figures or this particular case.

“I think it’s quite shocking, the rate is going up,” the mother added.

“I would hate to see another child go through what my daughter went through. You don’t expect it in this day and age.

“Schools need to address racism when it first arises. It is a real problem and it needs to be highlighted.”

Email:

keri.trigg@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the County Times

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