Racist and faith targeted bullying: What does the Law say?
The Department for Education has released guidance for schools about preventing and tackling bullying. You can find it here.
There are several pieces of legislation in England that are relevant to race and faith targeted bullying:
- Equality Act 2010
- Education and Inspections Act 2006
- Children Act 2004
- Education Act 2002
- Human Rights Act 1998
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)
The Equality Act 2010 introduced a public sector equality duty. All schools must have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited under the Act
- advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
- foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
This duty covers the ‘protected characteristics’ which includes race and religion or belief. Under the public sector equality duty, schools must act if they are aware of the use of racist language or language which targets pupils or school staff because of their faith. For example, in helping to foster good relations it is useful for schools to consider whether their policies and decisions help them to tackle prejudice, such as racist and faith-based bullying.
It is important we understand what the Equality Act means by race. You can find out more about this via the Equality and Human Rights Commission guidance.
Under the Education and Inspections Act 2006, head teachers, with the advice and guidance of governors and the assistance of school staff, must identify and implement measures to promote good behaviour, respect for others, and self-discipline among pupils, and to prevent all forms of bullying. This includes the prevention of bullying around race, religion and culture.