Pupils at St Monica’s High School have been learning about hate crime.
The year seven pupils at the Prestwich school attended a workshop on Monday 17 June to discuss the topic as part of the school’s diversity day. Organised by Bury Council and GMP it was an opportunity for youngsters to discuss the six strands which now include alternative subculture.
PC Jane Watson from GMP’s Bury Division, said: “Hate crime can affect anyone which is why it was so important to speak to the pupils and make them aware of the issue and what is being done to tackle it. Also the day was a chance to show them the options they have to report to police if they themselves are made a victim.
“The day went really well and we were able to engage the children on an issue that has been particularly topical in recent months.”
Sub-culture is now recorded the same way as disability, racist, religious, sexual orientation and transgender hate crime to provide better support to victims and repeat victims.
It centres on distinctive style, clothing, make up, body art and music preference. Those involved usually stand out to both fellow participants and to those outside the group. Groups typically under the ‘alternative’ umbrella include Goths, Emos, Punks and Metallers however this list is not exhaustive.
Lesley Davidson, anti-bullying co-ordinator with Bury Council Children's Services, said: “The event was aimed at year seven and eight and covered each of the six strands of hate crime. The first hour’s teaching was delivered by GMP, community cohesion and myself before the large group was split into their forms.
“The purpose of the teaching was to give pupils an understanding of the law regarding hate incidents and crimes; to understand the consequences of CPS prosecutions but more importantly to understand the moral consequences for developing empathy for difference.
“The pupils engaged in the project readily and the feedback from them was that they had developed a greater understanding of how intolerance harms everybody.”
Gilly Walker, Assistant Headteacher at St Monica’s High School, said: “Last year, Sylvia Lancaster from the Sophie Lancaster Foundation visited the school as part of a series of special assemblies to discuss discrimination and the effect that it had on her own daughter.
“We wanted to build on this which is why we held this event. The pupils had an action packed day working with the GMP, the council, the Sophie Lancaster Foundation and staff at the school to explore different stories, watch DVD clips, take part in poster work, prayer and reflections.
“It was fabulous to be able to show the pupils how to live out their gospel values in the twenty first century.”
The school held a further diversity day on 28 June for year eight pupils.
To report a Hate Crime contact police on 101 or dial 999 when there’s a threat to life or crime in progress. You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111
Issued: 8 July 2013.