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Equality & diversity dilemma

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by fjall, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. fjall

    fjall New commenter

    I work for a large college but based at a small satellite site where we are managed by an incompetent inexperienced manager (who has no teaching qualis or experience in education).
    One of our students recently made an extremely racist comment during a lesson with a supply teacher. It was not directed at anyone but as the supply teacher and I agreed, one of the most racist things we have heard a student say. The teacher handled it well and immediately challenged the student's views.
    After telling me she discussed it with our manager (who had overheard it from her office anyway). I was surprised a few days later to note that the incident had not been recorded on our student notes/concerns system and I asked my manager why. She said she felt that we didn't need to overreact as it was dealt with by the teacher at the time and that it was a cultural opinion (she was alluding to the fact that the student was not English).
    I feel like this sort of incident should still be taken seriously and recorded and the boy spoken to in a formal meeting. I believe his own cultural opinion is not defence for making such comments and at the very least we have a duty as a college to re educate him on what is acceptable. Am I overreacting? Is it better dealt with informally and left alone?
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    This is what I'd do.

    I'd go back to my manager (is the supply still around? Even better if you can both go.) and say it's been getting to you. Can she record it, please? As a minimum. And say how it was challenged at the time.

    Preferably you want him to be seen formally. On the record. A formal meeting doesn't automatically mean all guns blazing and a major "thing". Just means it'll be noted as having taken place. You don't want to alienate him. You just need him to be more cautious in the opinions he expresses. How about an informal meeting then? Something?

    The manager could call it a follow-up.

    I don't think you are overreacting. I think there are limits on what you can do. So I'd have another try.

    Also look at college policy on this. And when is the next talk specifically on hate crime and racism???
  3. Orchid2457

    Orchid2457 New commenter

    I don’t know what was said obviously but prevent training is an important agenda in schools as is the teaching of British Values. It emphasises that vulnerable targets for extremism could be anyone and to be aware of the signs. Now I’m not saying this child is at risk of that in particular but they do need to know the importance of respect and tolerance of other races and religions as part of British Values.

    I don’t think you’re overreacting at all. For all you know the boy could be expressing opinions he’s heard at home in his little bubble where he doesn’t meet anyone else that doesn’t look like him and that’s part of the problem. He doesn’t know there’s a big wide world out there where he can’t just go around saying offensive things without there being consequences. I agree with GDW. Ask if this can be addressed again.
  4. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I will never come to terms with the logical contradiction this embodies.
    Jamvic and sparkleghirl like this.
  5. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    "we have a duty as a college to re educate him on what is acceptable"
    And who decides what is acceptable?

    Dealing with it formally will mean recording of it. Any records of something of that nature could result in further repercussions. If it were a pattern of behaviour, I'd be more willing to support formal dealings. But, as it is, seemingly, an isolated incident, I can only see the moral panic of the post-modern world.
  6. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    Why not? What consequences?
  7. fjall

    fjall New commenter

    When I say what is acceptable I am referring to the fact that if he were to make a similar comment in public and someone took offense he could be in hot water. I feel that as educators we have a duty to teach him about this
    pepper5, FrankWolley and Orchid2457 like this.
  8. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    And? People take offense because of their particular set of beliefs. I take offense at hyper-sensitivity in political discourse, but I don't want someone penalized for it.

    A debate, and discussion, on how their views are biased is fine. Using punitive measures to "correct" their opinions is immoral.
  9. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    The college decides what is acceptable behaviour when in college. As all schools and colleges do.

    It's their conduct that is being corrected, not their opinions.
    pepper5, Flanks and Orchid2457 like this.
  10. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    Except they specifically said to "re educate". Not their conduct.
  11. fjall

    fjall New commenter

    We don't have any British values teaching or tutorials on any kind of equality issues. Our main college does but the manager here doesn't place any value on such things.
    pepper5 likes this.
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    You can re-educate people about acceptable conduct! I doubt the actual disciplinary policy of the college uses the word 're-educate'.
    pepper5 and Orchid2457 like this.
  13. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    Most certainly not, but that seems to be the intent. I certainly don't agree with prejudicial statements, but I also don't agree that schools should begin to feel so infallible that we become arbiters of "acceptable" views. For that matter, what society deems acceptable is often at odds with the notion of free thought and expression.
    pepper5 likes this.
  14. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    Just tell your manager that you consider a criminal offence has been committed and that you are going to report it to the police if nothing is done.
    "2.2.1 Incitement to racial hatred Section 18 of the Public Order Act 1986 makes it an offence for a person to use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or to display any written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting, intending to stir up racial hatred, or where having regard to all the circumstances racial hatred is likely to be stirred up."
  15. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    Seriously? What is wrong with you? Yeah, let's start reporting ignorance to the police to sort out. That always ends well.
  16. baitranger

    baitranger Senior commenter

    Just because a criminal offence is committed in a classroom it doesn't make it any less of an offence. Inciting young people to racial hatred is not a trivial matter, Please remember that incitement can lead to serious violence very quickly - for example by the use of a knife, which many young people carry around these days. Are you arguing that because the setting was a college rather than the queue at Sainsburys or a crowded tube carriage, the offence was any less?
    Ignorance of the law is not a defence.
    And by the way, we are not talking about "ignorance": we are talking about : "one of the most racist things we have heard a student say".
    To call it "ignorance" is a disingenuous way of trivialising something much more serious-it amounts to the deliberate use of a euphemism to obscure the truth. You can't defend racism by calling it "cultural".
    "What's wrong with you?" That's an obvious ad hominem attack - ie an attack on the individual instead of his views or arguments.
    Actually there's nothing wrong with me.
  17. Orchid2457

    Orchid2457 New commenter

    Sacked, arrested, punched?
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Twenty or so years ago a pupil was caught writing a racist comment about (the only) non-white teacher we had in the school. Apart from an apology, he was made to work under the caretaker for a number of detentions after school cleaning graffiti from desks etc all over the school. Esp any that were seen as abusive, racist etc.

    It worked as he never did it again (or at least was caught doing so!) Today the atmosphere is very different. I'd expect a fixed term exclusion at the very least...
  19. Orchid2457

    Orchid2457 New commenter

    Exactly. Agreed.
    pepper5 likes this.
  20. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Someone else won't realise it is a pattern unless there is a record.

    There are ways for managers to notify people in ways which won't trigger an over-reaction but will log for future reference needed.

    'An incident occurred in one of my classrooms today. I am not too concerned, suspect it is most likely a cultural-misunderstanding, and the teacher handled it extremely well, however I wish to pass it on to you in case it becomes relevant in the future.'
    agathamorse and BioEm like this.

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