Toddlers among thousands of children branded racist

Tue, 20 Sep 2011

Teachers have branded more than 20,000 primary school children racist or homophobic following spats in the playground, figures have disclosed.

Even some toddlers in nursery schools have been reported to local authorities for so-called hate speech.

Critics have hit out at local authorities saying they are overreacting about playground squabbles.

Ditch

Under the 2000 Race Relations Act schools are obliged to report all ‘hate speech’ incidents to local authorities.

Figures for the year 2009-10 were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the civil liberties group the Manifesto Club.

Adrian Hart, of the Manifesto Club, called for the Government to ditch the policy of ‘hate speech’ reporting in schools.

Inappropriate

He said: “Children need space to play and to learn the meaning of words, without being reported to the local education authority.

“These policies are an inappropriate intervention into playground life, and undermine teachers’ ability to set a moral example to children and to teach them right from wrong.

“There is a world of difference between racist abuse and primary school playground spats.”

Overreaction

In January figures revealed that between 2008-09 teachers recorded more than 10,000 incidents of primary school children making homophobic or racist remarks.

Commenting on the figures an editorial in the Daily Mail said: “Yes, it’s regrettable that small children through the ages have hurled silly or hurtful insults at each other – often before they understand what they mean.

“But won’t a ticking-off do? Is the answer really to register these ‘hate crimes’ (a distinctly adult obsession) on the children’s school files and report even trivial incidents to the authorities?”

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