Published 10 March 2022

A high number of West Dunbartonshire pupils are learning about diversity and participating in lessons to tackle bigotry, religious hate and racism.

The Education Service worked with charities Nil By Mouth and Show Racism the Red Card to highlight to pupils the impact of religious hatred through lessons, and to raise further awareness of the issues surrounding sectarianism.

Show Racism the Red Card has worked with 1181 pupils by delivering 27 workshops in 14 schools and have another 62 sessions planned for young people next month.

Nil By Mouth has worked with 615 young people across 15 primary schools.  Following the lessons, 30 young people in S4-S6 are now working towards apprenticeships in the care sector as part of their workplace training programme.

The lessons are offered to selected age groups in primary and in all secondary schools as part of the curriculum to promote positive social values and encourage young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.

Councillor Karen Conaghan, Convener of Educational Services, said: "I am delighted so many of our young people have engaged in this learning. I have campaigned for a long time to raise awareness of the need to begin a conversation on this issue, especially with our younger residents, so I am pleased more than 1,700 of our young people have taken part in this initiative.  It is important that we educate our children so they grow up understanding the hurt and distress this needless behaviour can cause to individuals and their families. There’s no place for racism or sectarianism in today’s society.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, Vice Convener of Educational Services, said: “It’s really pleasing to see the large numbers of pupils participating in these lessons.  We must teach our young people that religious hatred and racism will not be tolerated in our schools or our communities. This programme will hopefully allow pupils to discuss incidents of verbal and online sectarianism or abuse and I’m sure the lessons will give our young people the courage to speak up and be role models for their peers and the next generation.”