The STUC Black Workers Committee is alarmed to see reports of racism at St Augustine RC High School in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, such incidents of interpersonal and institutional racism are not unique to Edinburgh and they are common in Scottish education, as has been shown by the In Sight report on BAME pupils' experiences in Scottish schools by Intercultural Youth Scotland, the report on Islamophobia in Scottish schools by SACC, the Teaching in a Diverse Scotland report by the Scottish government and extensive reports from The Anti-Racist Educator.
We stand in solidarity with all those affected including student leader Miguel Chui who brought these incidents to public and political attention. We realise that the institutional nature of racism makes it difficult to confidently report racism without facing retaliation or dismissal. Schools across Scotland need to be held accountable when it comes to appropriate reporting of racist incidents. School leaders need to proactively be anti-racist by considering how racism infiltrates the curriculum, school policies and teachers and pupils' behaviours.
The STUC Black Workers Committee would like to see more and regular anti-racist training, efforts to decolonise the curriculum and inclusive policies that support the specific needs of BME teachers and pupils. Considering the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BME communities, it is crucial that BME parents, teachers and pupils' needs remain at the heart of education policies and implementation when schools re-open. We brought the appearance of long standing racism, exacerbated in recent months due to COVID -19 to the attention of the First Minister who gave a commitment to address real instances of racism across Scotland. Here is an example where the First Minister can and should live up to her words and take action to support young BME people in Edinburgh and across Scotland who continue to be affected by racism.