A five-year-old girl became depressed after being bullied for her faith at a Scottish state school.
Her parents, who wish to remain anonymous, told The Sunday Times how she explained to them that “other children had been making fun of her praying to God”.
The girl, who came to dread school, shared that there was at least one occasion where the bullying was witnessed by a member of staff who did nothing.
The parents, who live in the Highlands, said: “This made it feel as if what the perpetrators were doing was OK. As you can imagine, that knocked her confidence and made her feel even more powerless.
“She couldn’t even understand why she was being teased.”
The girl was repeatedly mocked by other pupils for expressing her beliefs.
The parents said their confidence in the school system has suffered since the incident, but added that a teacher “dealt with the matter swiftly” after concerns were raised.
“It was a very unsettling time. We are still not 100% sure our daughter is over this.”
They added, “we feel almost guilty complaining to the teacher that our child is being bullied. That can’t be right.”
Kate Forbes MSP, who represents Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, raised the girl’s case in Holyrood, whilst calling for schools to do more to tackle religious intolerance.
“A five-year-old saying grace before lunch is not hurting anyone and she should be free to do that.”
“I do think it is becoming more difficult for people with faith and that means that the schools and authorities have to do more to make sure schools are an inclusive environment”, she added.
Speaking on the matter recently, Free Church of Scotland minister Revd Alasdair Macleod said he believes there is a ‘growing problem of intolerance’ towards Christian pupils.
“It feels to me that schools are becoming an increasingly hostile environment for Christian pupils, and this hostility must stop.
“Bullying, mocking or intimidation towards pupils on the basis of their Christian faith is unacceptable and needs to be recognised as such.”