Leeds school racism toll revealed

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Almost 1,000 racist incidents were recorded at primary and secondary schools in Leeds in the past academic year – although this was an improvement on the previous two years.

The figures were released as part of a Freedom of Information (FoI) request submitted by the Yorkshire Evening Post.

According to figures for 2010 to 2011, 577 racist incidents were reported in primary schools and 409 were reported in secondary schools.

Racist incidents include physical assault, verbal abuse, threatening behaviour, graffiti, offensive literature, malicious phone calls and damage to property.

The total figure for last year is a 25 per cent decrease from the previous year, when 1,323 were reported.

The figures also show exclusions due to race-related incidents have increased slightly, with 75 secondary school pupils and five primary school pupils excluded last year.

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services at Leeds City Council, said: “We take any incidents of racism very seriously, and are working to significantly reduce the number of incidents within our schools.

“Every incident is recorded so that we can address this.

“Our ambition for all our schools is to be happy, healthy and safe learning places free from all forms of prejudice and harassment and where our young people value and respect all their classmates and enjoy learning together.

“The majority of our schools are committed to the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard.

“It is a valuable standard and one which started in Leeds and is a fantastic example nationally of what can be done to promote the importance of race equality to all children and young people.

“The standard promotes the importance of race equality, not only in schools but in all walks of life, and encourages our children and young people to treat everybody equally regardless of their race, beliefs or religion.”

PIC: Tony Johnson

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