430 primary school children were suspended for ‘racist abuse’ in the 2014-15 academic year – up from 320 five years ago, official figures show.
While the number of children disciplined for ‘racism’ soared from 320 to 430, there was a 20 per cent drop in primary school pupils suspended for drug and alcohol use in this period, Department for Education (DfE) statistics show.
The data, which details the number of five- to 11-year-olds given fixed period or permanent exclusions from their schools, shows that the number of children suspended for sexual misconduct also fell, but by just four per cent.
Overall, boys were more than three times more likely to be permanently excluded, and just under three times more likely to receive a fixed period exclusion than girls, according to the education department’s statistics.
They also reported that Black Caribbean pupils were “over three times more likely to be permanently excluded than the school population as a whole” and that Asians had the lowest rates of permanent and fixed period exclusion.
Similar trends with regards to ethnicity have been observed throughout the world, with USA Today reporting in 2013 that African American pupils are suspended “more than three times as often” as white pupils and “more than 10 times as often” as their East Asian classmates.
The DfE told The Guardian that the numbers only show that teachers have been more vigilant in reporting ‘racist incidents’ – not necessarily that such incidents have occurred in greater volume.
“It’s right, however, that any racist behaviour or sexual incidents are taken very seriously and that’s why we have taken decisive action to put teachers back in charge of the classroom by giving them the powers they need to tackle poor behaviour and discipline,” said a spokesman.
“All schools must promote the fundamental British values of mutual respect and tolerance for all and they are required by law to have measures in place to prevent bullying – including racist bullying.”
Current DfE guidance says teachers should report bullying and incidents that could constitute a ‘hate crime’ to the police. Schools should also introduce lessons regarding ‘hate crime’ and prejudice into the curriculum, and have a “named member of the senior management team responsible for dealing with prejudice based incidents and hate crime.”
Professionals have slammed the reporting of children as young as five as being ‘racist’, arguing that it’s unhealthy to make children frightened to ask questions. The comments came after a seven-year-old was recorded ‘racist’ for asking another child if he was from Africa.