Those who engage in racist acts in schools will be counselled, disciplined

Students and staff who experience racial discrimination in schools should bring it up to their institutions immediately for investigations to be conducted, and those found engaging in racist acts will be counselled and disciplined, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said yesterday.

"Any form of racism is unacceptable and has no place in our schools," said a spokesman.

The ministry was responding to The Straits Times' queries about recent allegations on social media platforms, where several users from minority communities recounted incidents of alleged racial bullying by former classmates and discrimination by teachers.

Addressing the point that racism has no place in schools, the MOE spokesman said: "We expect all educators to conduct themselves to the highest standards of their profession, given their position of influence over their students, and we will not hesitate to take the appropriate disciplinary actions against offenders."

"Our schools aim to provide a supportive and safe environment where students and staff, regardless of their race and religion, can build strong and positive relationships, voice their concerns, and seek help from their teachers and peers," the spokesman added.

The ministry also said schools here provide a common space for students to learn the values of respect and harmony, regardless of race, language or religion.

Along with training and resources for teachers, students are taught about multiculturalism and the importance of racial harmony through subjects like history and social studies within the classroom. The values from these lessons are further reinforced through peer interaction during co-curricular activities and cohort camps, MOE said.

All schools will have a peer support structure in place by the end of this year, where students can support one another and are taught to speak up for peers when necessary, the ministry added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2021, with the headline 'Those who engage in racist acts in schools will be counselled, disciplined'. Subscribe