Children as young as five are having innocent-sounding playground remarks logged as 'racist incidents' by primary school staff, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.For what possible purpose?
Many schools, including those in London, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool and Brighton, record incidents on pupils' files which can be transferred when they move to secondary school.
Others use a national database of the incidents for other teachers to access and monitor files.
If only there was such a database for actual misbehaviour. Maybe then genuine threats could be tracked...
School leaders say they are encouraged to report all racist incidents to local authorities, though there is no legal requirement.
There's a saying about journalism:
"One cannot hope to bribe or twist,
Thank god, the British journalist.
But seeing what the man will do unbribed,
There's no occasion to!"
I guess we can add 'teachers' to that list!
Adrian Hart, a researcher who uncovered the incident reports at Brighton schools, said: 'The vast majority of the so-called 'racist' incidents we see schools recording are simply evidence of children behaving childishly.'
And these incidents of teachers gleefully recording non-incidents for their fellows is...what? It's not 'childishness', is it? It's something rather more sinister...
The National Union of Teachers, the National Association of Headteachers, the Local Government Association and Leeds City Council were unable to comment.
I think the word you were grasping for there was 'unwilling'...