INCIDENTS of racist bullying at schools in Blackpool are increasing, according to new figures.
Figures released by the civil liberties group the Manifesto Club found there were 82 reported incidents of racism in the academic year 2008 to 2009.
Out of the 82 reported incidents, 78 were classified as simple name calling. Fifty nine of the 82 incidents were recorded in primary schools throughout the resort.
A year later, in the 2009 and 2010 academic year, only figures from the spring and autumn term were available, but they revealed 66 incidents had been recorded halfway through the year, 46 being in primary schools and 20 in secondary schools.
Dr Ifty Khan, chairman of Blackpool Central Mosque on Revoe Street, said educating pupils in ethnic cultures is the key to stopping incidents.
He said: “This is something which needs to be rooted out and it’s a shame it goes on at a young age.
“It’s a need for the school and education authority to make sure this particular subject is taken on in the curriculum because there are a lot more people coming from ethnic groups.”
In November, Blackpool FC held a Show Racism the Red Card event for children from Layton Primary, St Kentigerns Primary in Layton and Thames Primary in South Shore while the council sets up visits to the mosque for local youngsters.
And with more ethnic minorities emerging in Blackpool, Dr Khan believes something should be done.
He added: “It’s undoubtedly damaging to the communities and race relations if bullying is going on in schools, because it is schools we need to be educating before they get older. We need to be pursuing this with a bit more effort.”
Coun Peter Collins, education portfolio holder for Blackpool Council, said reporting a case of bullying straight away is paramount to getting the situation dealt with.
He said: “All incidents of bullying in whatever form cannot be condoned in schools and the teachers and staff are taking all measures to look out for bullying, and take it very seriously.”
Coun Collins said reporting bullying does work, but emphasis needs to be put on children who do not feel comfortable reporting classmates.
He added: “Everything we can possibly do to help children is being done and we’re there to support them. But I think there are quite a few incidents where children do not report incidents.
“It doesn’t work all the time especially when it’s out of hours and this is when we need the parents to come forward.”