New DVD helps stamp out school hate crimes

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BISPHAM High pupils put their acting skills to good use when they filmed a hard-hitting DVD aimed at stamping out racist and religious bullying.

Students from the Bispham performing arts college have been picked to work with the Crime Prosecution Service to develop a resource for schools country-wide as part of an ongoing project.

The group travelled to the media studio at the City Learning Centre on Grange Park to film a number of scenarios which can show the devastating effects of bullying.

It also shows the legal consequences faced by people who carry out bullying in a bid to deter youngsters and encourage them to think before they act.

The project has proved a thought-provoking one for pupils at the Bispham Road school, according to John Topping, deputy headteacher.

He said: “Getting to take part in this DVD for the CPS was a good experience for our pupils.

“They devised and acted out the roles of the bullies, which was quite challenging for them.

“It is so important to make children realise how damaging bullying can be, not only in terms of the impact on their victim, but also on the bully themselves, in terms of the legal ramifications.

“I was impressed by how seriously they took the exercise; the DVD is set to be circulated right across the country so it was important to set the right tone. Bullying has no place in our schools.”

The pupils said they enjoyed the experience.

Leah England, 13, said: “Filming the DVD was exciting. It was good to learn about how other people live and what steps we can take to help them when they need it.”

The resource is aimed at key stages two and three.

Bispham has been involved in working with the CPS for several months thanks to the work of school governor and disability discrimination campaigner Stephen Brookes.

Mr Brookes has been given an MBE for his work highlighting the plight of disabled people in the town, and The Blackpool ‘model’ was highlighted as the way forward by the influential equality and Human Rights Commission in its Hidden In Plain Sight published in September.

The school has been given valuable input from the CPs’ North West Area Hate Crime coordinator, Alison Mutch and the equality and diversity manager, Stacey Davis.

Mrs Davies said: “Tackling Hate Crime is a key priority for the CPS. Local authorities recorded almost 88,000 cases of racist bullying in schools between 2007 and 2011.

“We know many schools are working hard to tackle this type of behaviour and we want to support them in this.

“Bullying has no place in our society and devastates the lives of so many young people and their families .

“We’re delighted to be working with Bispham to develop the resource which looks at bullying.”