Rooting out racism in schools
Schools should be places in which every child feels safe and respected. But for too many children from Black and minoritised communities, that is simply not the case.
Earlier this month we were contacted by Sarah* about her children’s shocking experience at an after-school club in London. Sarah’s then five-year-old daughter, who has medical issues, had soiled herself. Rather than taking care of her, the club’s staff made her eight-year-old brother clean her up himself, in full view of other pupils and staff. He says that a staff member told him, “I’m not cleaning her; she’s your sister, you clean her.” When she asked to be taken to the toilet to be cleaned up in private, she was ignored. Thanks to Sarah’s advocacy on her children’s behalf, the school has taken some steps to improve its safeguarding. But Sarah feels that, as a Black mum, she has faced extra obstacles to making her voice heard, which have compounded her family’s trauma.
If racism is to be rooted out of society, it must be rooted out of schools. Increased public awareness, better teacher training and improved regulation are all essential tools to bring about that change. The law is another tool; we believe that empowering pupils and parents to better understand their rights and, where appropriate, enforce them is an essential part of the jigsaw.
If you are in a position to support this case, you can do so here.
*We’ve given Sarah a pseudonym to protect her identity.
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