A teaching union says it is “extremely concerned" about increasing incidents of racism and towards Chinese and East Asian pupils and teachers in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
The NASUWT teaching union says there has been an increase in “jokes, banter, racist name-calling and intimidation” and, in one instance, says pupils were playing an “unsavoury game of tag” named after the coronavirus.
Parents have already reported pupils are playing a game where the aim is to "breathe on people" who become "locked in zone" for the rest of lunchtime "with no human rights".
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The NASUWT has now called on education ministers to extend the coronavirus guidance that has already been issued to schools to address racist incidents.
Chris Keates, acting general secretary, said: “The NASUWT is extremely concerned at the extent of increased incidences of abuse, prejudice, xenophobia and racism as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Misinformation and false reporting about the coronavirus, its causes and how it is spread have fuelled fear and panic and in some cases led to the ostracising of people of East Asian heritage and others perceived to be ‘foreign’ or an ‘immigrant’ within the UK.
“Unfortunately, schools and colleges are not exempt from the associated xenophobic and racialised stereotyping of Chinese and other East Asian people. The NASUWT has received reports of increased covert and overt racial attacks perpetrated against some minority ethnic pupils and NASUWT members linked to coronavirus concerns.
“The NASUWT is urging the Department for Education to communicate with schools and provide guidance and support for school leaders.”
The union has published guidance on its website about what teachers should do if they have witnessed or been targeted with racial or other abuse associated with the coronavirus.
The DfE has been contacted for comment.