Race probe to poll blacks and Asians

19th February 1999 at 00:00
GLASGOW'S education committee has agreed to hold separate talks with black and Asian young people in the council's forthcoming consultations on confronting racial harassment in schools.

The move followed an intervention by Bashir Maan, an Asian councillor, who said young people from ethnic minorities had to be encouraged to express their views "without inhibition".

The consultation is part of an anti-racist action plan launched in December. Malcolm Green, the education convener, said it had become clear there was "a sense of alienation" among black people aged 18-25, not only from white society but from their own elders.

Proposed guidelines on racial harassment advise staff on dealing with physical assault, name-calling, graffiti, verbal abuse and racist badges. They would apply to pupils going to and from school as well as during school hours.

Ken Corsar, Glasgow's director of education, said there were "persistent concerns that the recorded incidents are no more than the tip of the iceberg and that many more incidents are going unrecorded, sometimes because staff do not recognise them as racist incidents, and more often because incidents may occur outwith the knowledge of the staff".

It was vital to stress the importance of recording and reporting all incidents, Mr Corsar said.

Research for the council's anti-racist task force indicated that some young black people would prefer racial harassment not to be singled out by schools but dealt with under general discipline.

But councillors, mindful of potential powder kegs such as the recent inquiry into the death of Imran Khan, a Shawlands Academy pupil, decided the zero tolerance approach to racism in schools must continue to be flagged up separately. But they did not rule out a more general approach in the future.

The consultation period lasts until the end of April and revised guidelines are intended to be in place for the beginning of the new session in August.

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