Attacking racism;Opinion

26th February 1999 at 00:00
The Metropolitan Police may have felt the full force of the whirlwind unleashed by the Stephen Lawrence report, but schools, as always, have been struck by some of the flying debris.

Sir William Macpherson believes that they can be the architects of a "fair and just society" and must therefore place much more emphasis on anti-racism and multi-culturalism. Certainly he is right to contend that there is too much racist bullying in schools. The percentage of black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi teenagers gaining at least five good GCSEs is also lamentably low compared to the national average. And a disproportionate number of black pupils are still being excluded. (As The TES revealed in December, they are up to 15 times as likely to be suspended as their white classmates).

However, the Children's Legal Centre's assertion that "white majority" schools ignore race issues will be challenged by the many shire-county teachers who do promote anti-racism. As the legal centre's report suggests, schools have a solemn duty to attack the virus of racism; but it sometimes seems that they are being unfairly blamed for failing to find a cure.

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