‘Vile’ racist abuse aimed at primary school pupils in Glasgow has been reported to police.
Officers from Police Scotland have visited St Albert’s Primary School in the city’s Southside after racist comments aimed at pupils were made on social media following a visit by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Glasgow City Council confirmed the abuse has been reported as hate crime and police say they are carrying out investigations.
Clare Harker, the school’s headteacher, called police about the abuse and said staff were “horrified” by the reactions.
She said: “We were shocked and horrified by the abuse posted in response to a photo of children in one of our classes. Thankfully the pupils in the photo are unaware of the online abuse as they’re so young, but all the teachers and parents are appalled.
“Thank you to everyone, including the First Minister, for their messages of support for the children and school. Their kind words have helped reaffirm our faith in human beings following the disgusting online abuse.
“People should not be afraid to report hate crime. It is very important that, when it happens, we all do so. In our experience, the police will treat it very seriously. We had officers in the school yesterday and it sends out a very clear message to our older pupils and our wider community that no one should tolerate abuse – it must be reported.”
STV News previously reported the school was targeted with shocking racial abuse after a picture of pupils meeting the First Minister was shared on social media on Friday.
The school had been celebrating the success of an assembly tackling climate change.
Sturgeon was among the first to condemn the abuse on Saturday when she said: “Every brilliant young person and every member of staff @StAlbertsG41 is worth a million and more of the vile racists who hurl abuse at them.
“It’s my privilege to represent the wonderful, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Southside of Glasgow. I stand with them, always.”
The incident also comes after STV News reported on abuse aimed at Scottish teachers following a presentation on diversity at the Scottish Learning Festival (SLF).
The abuse was condemned by the EIS teaching union and the Scottish Government.
Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “Second time in as many weeks I’m on to condemn racism targeted at our young people, their teachers and their schools.
“This sort of behaviour has no place in our society. I’ve no doubt that the young people at @StAlbertsG41 will grow up to be citizens we can all be proud of. Doubt you could say the same for those that take part in a pile on towards a primary school’s Twitter feed.”
Following the incidents, the school said: “Our motto is, ‘Creating Conscience Led Communities’. We will continue to embed this in all our practice.
“We urge all our colleagues to embrace equity in all policy and practice and stand as active allies with anti racist and culturally responsive practice.
“We are sending love and hope it touches the hearts of those who live in hate. Thank you for your support.”
The incident occurred as Glasgow schools prepare to take part in this year’s National Hate Crime Awareness Week from October 8, which encourages people to report hate crime which is currently under-reported across the UK.
Confirming Police Scotland’s investigations, superintendent Patrick Murphy said: “We are continuing with enquiries and providing support to St Alberts Primary School. Police Scotland operates a zero tolerance approach to hate crime on social media platforms and those identified will be dealt with in the appropriate manner.
“We would encourage anyone to report social media hate crime offences to Police Scotland on 101 or at a designated third party reporting centre.
“We are committed to providing a professional and consistent approach to victims of hate crime, treating everyone equally with due regard to their differences”
Councillor Christina Cannon, the council’s convenor for education and equalities, said: “Glasgow is proud to be an inclusive city enriched by its diversity. Our slogan is People Make Glasgow and that means all people. We do not tolerate hate crime and I encourage anyone who witnesses it or experiences it to report it either to the police or via a Third Party Reporting Centre.
“I’m proud that Glasgow is working with a wide range of partners including inter-faith, disability groups and the Scottish Ethnic Minority Deaf Club to highlight Hate Crime Awareness Week. Sadly, the online abuse aimed at children in one of our primary schools is a sickening reminder of precisely why everyone needs to stand up to hate crime.”
The council are hosting a free hate crime awareness event with Glasgow Disability Alliance on October 14.
More information can be found on Hate Crime Scotland’s website.