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Racist taunts and attacks in Thanet more than double

By Jenna Dobbs

Racist taunts and attacks in Thanet have more than doubled in recent years, according to figures from Kent County Council (KCC).

The number of cases has risen by a staggering 120% since 2014, compared to an increase of just 9% across the rest of the county.

The data, obtained from a Freedom of Information request, shows 751 incidents were recorded in Kent between 2016 and 2017 - the latest figures available.

Racist incidents have more than doubled in Thanet schools
Racist incidents have more than doubled in Thanet schools

Thanet had 143 cases, followed by Gravesham, with 96, and Swale, where there were 83 reports.

Canterbury had 42 incidents, while the district with the fewest was Folkestone and Hythe, with 33.

Chief executive of Kent Equality Cohesion Council, Gurvinder Sandher, says despite the increase, community relations are generally very positive.

He said: "It's obviously a disappointment that there's been an increase in terms of racism in local schools.

Illustrative graphic (3574184)
Illustrative graphic (3574184)

"It's encouraging to see these incidents being recorded, and hopefully as a result of that schools can understand where racism is taking place and what they can do to prevent it.

"If racial incidents occur it's important that it's recorded, and that schools, local authority partners and the police take these issues seriously.

"It's important for schools to address the problem, so children can get the message that regardless of skin colour, faith or gender, we should all work together and respect one another."

Surprisingly, almost half of cases between 2016 and 2017 were recorded in Kent's primary schools.

Figures show that 47% of racist attacks and taunts were carried out by younger children, and 37% happened in the county's secondary schools.

Reports from special schools and pupil referral units made up around 16% of cases.

Mr Sandher said: "The number of reports from primary schools could be down to a combination of factors.

"It could be the fact that children are saying things that they don't understand, or that primary schools are more tuned-in to recording incidents.

Racism in Kent's schools has gone up by 9%
Racism in Kent's schools has gone up by 9%

The Kent Equality Cohesion Council works with schools across Kent to encourage children to take pride, and celebrate diversity.

It also organises events celebrating events such as St George's Day and Diwali with the aim of bringing local communities together.

Kent Council County collated the figures using an annual survey submitted by schools.

Between 2016 and 2017, 164 schools failed to complete the survey.

A total of 136 schools did not return the 2014/15 survey.

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