Children across the Highlands are being bullied in schools for their religious beliefs, an MSP has revealed.
Kate Forbes, who represents Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said she was recently approached by families in her constituency about the matter.
They told her there was a lack of understanding about the diversity of religion in Scotland, which can often result in “a lack of tolerance or mockery of religious practices”.
Free Church of Scotland minister Revd Alasdair Macleod agreed. He believes there is a ‘growing problem of intolerance’ towards Christian pupils.
He said: “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.
“Until this happens, many pupils and their families will continue to be reluctant to speak out.”
The parents’ concerns prompted Miss Forbes to question the Scottish Government over its stance on protecting young people’s freedom of religion and beliefs in the Scottish parliament last week.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney responded by saying that freedom of religious belief is an important feature of Scottish life which must also apply in schools.
Revd Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, congratulated Miss Forbes for raising the issue in parliament, and stressed the importance of freedom of belief for all faiths and none in schools.