Racially abused – school’s answer is suspension

The BBC have reported that a 17-year-old pupil in Edinburgh was called the “N” word and told to hang herself by fellow students.

Britney was verbally and physically attacked by other pupils. However, on reporting the incident to teachers, she was the one threatened with suspension.

She is now calling on the local council to do more to tackle the problem and provide more help for victims of racial abuse in schools.

Britney told BBC Scotland News about the incident, which took place during her lunch hour.

“They were attacking a friend of mine and I defended her, but then I got attacked,” she explained.

Someone threw a can of juice at Britney.

She said: “They called me the N word and said things against my skin. It was really bad. I was shocked. They all launched at me. After that the teachers got involved. A teacher took me home.

“The next day they said I would be suspended.”

Britney says the reason given by the school for her suspension was that she was new to the school. It was only when her mother, Blessing, stepped in to show teachers a video of the incident which had been shared on social media that the suspension was rescinded.

But as far as Britney is aware no one has been punished for the attack.

Racism is something she has encountered since she was a young girl growing up in Austria.

She is now facing the same attitudes in Scotland.

She said: “When I see incidents like this I just ask myself maybe I am meant to be treated badly, like someone who is not a human – because that is what I get called pretty much all my life – a monkey, a slave, or someone who belongs in a farm and not in a school.

“Because that’s what I get told in this new school.”

Britney has shared her experience ahead of the release of a new report, due to be launched at the Scottish Parliament on 6th November, which highlights the views of a small group of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) children in Scotland.

Nisha Singh, from Intercultural Youth Scotland, says more thought should be given to those who are targeted by prejudice.

She said: “Think about them, if they have experienced racism, think about what support they need after they’ve experienced it. It’s not just giving them a punishment it’s actually seeing if they are ok and giving them the right support.”

By highlighting the stories of young people affected, the charity’s aim is to keep the pressure on councils to do more about racist bullying. In Edinburgh’s secondary schools, this accounts for roughly a quarter of all bullying incidents.

Councillor Alison Dickie said: “If we are going to change anything, the lived experience of BAME young people and families right across the city, we need to be very much involved in this and I am pushing for the young people to be part of this change.

“There is much yet to do and we need to honour the voice of the young people that are saying there are things to change.”

She said the council was concerned about the underreporting of incidents.

She added: “Young people are feeling not confident enough to go forward and report it and have it addressed in a way they would like to see it addressed. We would like to see the numbers go up, meaning more people are reporting it.”

Alongside revising anti-bullying procedures in schools, the council believes that encouraging staff training and diverse recruitment are practical steps towards improvement.

The hope is that pupils following in Britney’s footsteps do not share her bad experiences.

Read the full report at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-50306621

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