Saturday 24 August 2019

Father's 'disgust' following 'racist incident' involving son (10) in school

Stock photo
Stock photo

Ralph Riegel

A FATHER has demanded a review of school and Department of Education anti-racism policies after expressing "disgust" at how an incident involving his young son was dealt with.

A 10-year-old boy of mixed ethnicity claimed he was racially abused by an 11-year-old Irish older boy in a Munster national school.

The father pointed out his son is the only child of mixed race background in the small school.

He claimed the older boy, without provocation, called his son "a black b*****d".

The younger boy retaliated and called the older boy a "white k*****r".

The school principal, on becoming aware of the incident, disciplined both youngsters.

However, he decided to hand down precisely the same punishment to both boys who were given detention for three days during their lunch breaks.

The boys sat in the same classroom over lunch being supervised by a teacher.

But the younger boy's father said he was shocked that there was no recognition with the discipline handed down of who started the incident or that his son might to vulnerable to racist taunts.

"I was disgusted by what happened," he said.

"There was absolutely no attempt to distinguish between the individual who provoked this incident and the victim who simply retaliated and decided to defend himself."

The man was so enraged he complained to the principal, the school's board of management and the Department of Education.

A school official could not be contacted.

The Department of Education have not, as yet, replied to queries about their anti-racism policies and guidelines in respect of how the incident was handled.

"What concerns me most about this is what kind of message it sends out to a child who is being subjected to racist insults," the father asked?

"That you will be punished the same as the person who called you racist names if you attempt to defend yourself?"

"What kind of message does it also send out to other children in the school?"

"If we want a modern multi-cultural Ireland where people respect each others ethnic diversity, this is not how we should handle incidents like this."

Letters were sent by the school to the families of both children over the trading of insults.

"These insults were ethnically motivated. Insults were both given and received," the official letter warned.

"Needless to say, incidents of this nature are very serious and unacceptable in any environment."

"Both parties will be kept from the (play) yard for the next three days. I hope you can speak to your child and impress upon them how hurtful and wrong this type of language is."

The school authorities also said they were available to discuss the incident with any of the two families involved.

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