THE number of racist incidents in Argyll and Bute’s schools more than doubled in 2019-20, according to figures released this week.

Data revealed following a freedom of information request by the Liberal Democrats states that there were 13 racist incidents across the area’s 10 secondary schools during the last full academic year – compared to only six during the 2018-19 session.

However the figure for 2019-20 is on a par with the number two years previously, when 14 incidents were recorded in the area.

In neighbouring West Dunbartonshire the figures for the last two years are a near mirror image of those in Argyll and Bute – from 13 incidents in the 2018-19 school year, the same as the previous 12 months, to seven in 2019-20.

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The data released on Wednesday does not reveal how many – if any – of the Argyll and Bute incidents happened in schools in Helensburgh and Lomond.

The party’s education spokeswoman Beatrice Wishart said: “No-one should go to school afraid that they will face racist abuse but these figures show that racist incidents remain a stubborn stain on Scottish schooling.

“All forms of bullying need to be challenged effectively. That means accurate recording and monitoring of bullying so that the right interventions can be put in place to stamp these incidents out.

“The Black Lives Matter movement has encouraged us all to think about racial injustice and to reflect on Scotland’s own history.

“By and large, Scotland is a great place to live but learning the lessons of the past will allow us to do even better in the future.”

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Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O'Hara said: “Any form of racism is completely unacceptable and any incident is one too many.

"I know that our schools work hard to tackle racism and make sure that everyone has the opportunity to learn in an inclusive and cohesive environment without disadvantage.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “Bullying of any form is entirely unacceptable and we need to be vigilant in challenging any racist and abusive behaviour in schools.

“Where it occurs, it must be challenged through educating children about all faiths and belief systems, ensuring they learn tolerance, respect and equality.”

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