Drafting school anti racism policies

The Immigrant Council has produced the following document, which should assist schools to devise anti-racism policy.A school environment should allow all children should be physically safe, emotionally secure,  academically challenged and spiritually alert. Every child has the right to learn; the right to be different; and the right to be happy.Ireland has undergone enormous change over the past decade, and its demographic reflects this change. 1/8 people between 0-19 in the Republic of Ireland are from ethnic and/or migrantbackgrounds (159,424 – excluding Irish Travelling Community) 1/7 children under the age of 14 are from ethnic and/or migrant backgrounds (143,441 –excluding Irish Travelling Community) In 2010/2011 there were 509,652 pupils enrolled in aided primary schools in Ireland. Ofthese, 59,941 were non-Irish nationals [11.76%] In 2010/2011 there were 356,107 pupils enrolled in aided second level schools in Ireland.Of these, 36,993 were non-Irish nationals [10.38%]In Ireland, equality legislation is based on ‘The Employment Equality Acts’ and ‘The Equal Status Acts’ which prohibit discrimination on nine grounds, including racism.Each Anti-Racism Policy should aim to ensure effective protection and redress against discrimination through a structured policy framework to make school a safe and welcoming place, where pupils can achieve success.Schools should provide an environment in which racist assumptions, attitudes, behaviours and stereotypes are confronted and empower children to challenge racism. This must form the cornerstone to any policy.Staff should be provided with the tools and management support to directly intervene in racist incidents. All disclosed incidents of racism must be investigated as appropriate.Drafting a policyThe drafting of any anti-racism statements or policies must be owned, steered and mplemented by the entire community, including pupils, parents, guardians, and teachers.Clear steps must be outlined so that there is no discrepancy with respect to action to be expected and undertaken. Discussion groups with students, parents and the Board of Management must be facilitated in order to draft a holistic policy which has generated the support of all stakeholders involved.Procedure:A: IdentificationRacist incidents can vary from physical assault, threats of physical assault, threats and intimidation, taunting, theft and property damage, name-calling, insults, racist jokes, and racist graffiti, wearing racist paraphernalia, or bringing racist material to school, incitement of others to behave in a racist way, ridicule of an individual for cultural differences and cyber-bullying (via mobile phone, instant messaging, e-mail, social media websites etc.)Racist incidents need not be directed an individual, and can include racist, sweeping statements within the classroom.B: Reporting:If a parent or guardian reports a racist incident, they will be asked to complete a racist incident report form. The incident will be investigated by the class teacher and if necessary by the teacher with responsibility for discipline/school principal. The completed report form will be sent to the teacher with responsibility for discipline/school principal.If a pupil reports a racist incident to a teacher, the teacher will complete a racist incident report form. This form will be given to the class teacher who will investigate the incident. Serious incidents, such as assault or physical threats will be reported to the teacher with responsibility for discipline/school principal.C: Support:Persons who experience racist incidents can be supported in a number of ways including:• Challenging racism within the classroom and promoting classroom discussion;• Discussing inappropriate and offensive comments;• One-to-one teacher/chaplain/counsellor-pupil support;• Peer support groups.D: Sanctioning:The person responsible for the racist incident must be aware of the effect the incident has had and be appropriately sanctioned. Repeat offenses should be sanctioned by way of suspension.E: Trends:Staff meetings should include an overview of racist incidents, including those of a repetitive nature which may need further sanctions. The principal should monitor the frequency and nature of racist incidents and to measure the effectiveness of the methods used by our school in responding to them. Based on this information and an annual review, the policy may be amended to best respond to racist incidents.F : Roles and Responsibilities:(a) Board of ManagementThe Board of Management must take leadership in terms of the drafting of the Anti-RacismPolicy. The Board must clearly outline the consequences of racist behaviour within the Policy and be prepared to take the necessary and sometimes difficult steps regarding thesanctioning of offenders of racist incidents(b) PrincipalThe principal must take direct leadership of the issue of racism within the school. Theprincipal must communicate the serious and unacceptable nature of racist incidents toparents, staff and pupils alike. The principal must ensure that policies are implementedcorrectly and in a timely fashion. The principal must communicate emerging issues such asracism to the Board of Management.(c) TeachersTeachers are obliged to ensure that no child under his/her supervision is subjected to racism. Teachers must notify the appropriate representative of any racist incidents and dulycomplete a racist incidents form. Teachers must seek to support persons who have experienced racist incidents appropriately. Teachers must not at any time, engage instereotyping, ridiculing or encouraging racist discourse within the classroom.(d) PupilsPupils must be made aware of their obligation and responsibility to ensure that otherstudents are not subjected to racist incidents. Students must report such incidents to thenearest teacher. Students must not engage in any racist activity.(e) ParentsParents must be familiar with the school’s anti-racism policy and duly accept the sanctions asdetermined by the school. Parents should be encouraged to partake in activities whichencourage the appreciation for diversity.Preventative MeasuresThe promotion of the appreciation for diversity can serve to stem racist incidents in schoolsthrough a variety of activities. These activities can include:• Run awareness raising activities during European Anti-Racism week (March) and on HumanRights Day (10 December) promoting openness, diversity and inter-culturalism;• Organise an Intercultural Day, during which all cultures and traditions are celebrated andshowcased. Students, staff and parents should be encouraged to participate;• Elect students every year to act as a buddy to new students;• Invite guest speakers from diverse ethnic backgrounds and origins to serve as positive rolemodels.• Ensure that public spaces, such as the school hall demonstrate a welcome to people of allfaiths, ethnic groups and backgrounds;• Ensure that library reading material represents children from different national and cultural backgrounds.http://www.immigrantcouncil.ie/images/stories/pdfs/Anti-Racism_policy_2.pdf

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