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Brexit, a rise in racism in schools

By Abigail Kass

July 11 2017


In the months leading up to and since the Brexit referendum, hate crimes in schools have dramatically risen.

According to figures obtained through Freedom of Information requests by the Times Educational Supplement, in May 2016, the month before the referendum, there was an 89% rise in police reports of hate crimes compared to the May of the previous year. And in the three months surrounding the referendum, May, June, and July, there was a 54% increase in hate crimes in schools.

And things have not improved in the wake of the referendum.

Schools Week has reported that in the year following the Brexit referendum, the number of racial hate crimes in schools has increased by 57% from 2014-2015 to 2016-2017. There has also been a 53% rise in the number of schoolchildren arrested for racism. These numbers were obtained by Schools Week through Freedom of Information requests to the UK’s police forces.

The period captured in the report by Schools week started on April 1, 2016, two weeks before the Brexit campaign officially began, and about 12 weeks before the actual vote.

When discussing the troubling figures about school hate crimes, Iman Atta, the director of Tell MAMA, a group that monitors anti-Muslim incidents throughout the UK, said, “It seems that the toxification of issues around immigration and migrants also affected the minds of some young people in schools and we know that if people are influenced early in life, those views take a lot of time and investment to challenge.”

Reports of hate crime incidents have included many children being told to “go back to their own country,” sometimes while also being physically assaulted. There have also been many racially-charged, derogatory words used by students against other classmates.

Post Brexit two black university students s were subjected to months of “malicious” online racial abuse demanded action from the their university -Bristol- and the police

Timi Ariyo spoke out after a video about him containing abusive singing and monkey noises was sent on Snapchat.

There have also been reports involving teachers, including an incident in a Birmingham secondary school where a Muslim teacher who wore a hijab was verbally attacked by some students and called “ISIS,” and another Muslim teacher in Monmouthshire being harassed over her skin tone.

It is clear that something needs to be done about this dramatic rise in hate crimes in schools. Allana Gay, the deputy headteacher at Lea Valley primary school in north London, recommends that schools have “open discussions” on race and that schools should give students “racial encounters beyond the stereotypes they read or hear about.” She further recommends “initiating discussion about extremist activity around the world, how it is reported, how we feel and how we want to respond.”

Originally published by OBV

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