b'DISCRIMINATIONDOING THE RIGHT THINGPerhaps reflective of broader global trends (in particularhave been committed) or social services (if there are as a result of Black Lives Matter), schools have seen ansafeguarding concerns about a child or young person). increase in former pupils reporting their experiencesof discrimination at school. Some of these experiencesAs for all serious cases, the school may wish to refer relate to incidents that are alleged to have taken placeto the non-statutory guidance from the National many years ago, whereas others are more recent. InPolice Chiefs Council (NPCC) When to call the Police, this article, we explore how a school should respond towhich provides guidance to schools when considering such concerns and provide some key considerations forcontacting the police. The guidance explains when governors.an incident is considered to be a hate incident (which includes when the victim or anyone else believes the Case study incident was motivated by hostility or prejudice based The chair of governors of the Red School receives anon race), and also a hate crime.email from a former pupil (who left last academic year) stating that they were subject to racism while at theWhether the chair (or head) reports the matter to school and that they do not wish any other pupil to bethe police is a matter of professional judgement, subject to such discriminatory behaviour. The formertaking into account all the factors in the guidance, the pupil names the alleged perpetrators, some of whomoutcome of the schools initial fact-finding exercise are still pupils at the school. They allege that teachersand all relevant circumstances.did not take appropriate action at the time to deal with the behaviour. They have also shared their concerns onWhere the police are involved, the next steps will, to social media, to which other alumni have responded,an extent, be led by them. This does not completely suggesting there is a culture of racism at the school.prohibit a school-based investigation but the school should liaise closely with the police regarding timings What steps should the school taketo avoid prejudicing any police investigation. If the in response?police do not need to be involved (or where the The most important, overarching principle is that allpolice confirm the school may proceed with their own allegations of racism should be taken seriously. Racisminternal investigation), the chair should ensure the has no place in society or schools. Staff and governorsschool-based investigation is conducted in accordance are in a frontline position to encourage and maintainwith school policies. an equal and inclusive culture in school, and respondAlleged perpetrators who are current pupilsThe appropriately and robustly if incidents arise.school has a duty of care to its current pupils, which includes the alleged perpetrators. The chair should Gather factsGiven the potential for policetherefore ensure that steps are taken to monitor involvement (see below), the chair should ask athese pupils and, where necessary, that appropriate member of the senior leadership team to gatherarrangements are put in place (eg if there is a risk that sufficient information to establish the broad facts.they may be bullied themselves/targeted, particularly For example, what has the former pupil alleged? Wasif the allegations have been shared online). the school aware of the incidents at the time and, ifDepending upon a pupils age, this may require their so, are there contemporaneous notes of the actionparents involvement. If the outcome of the schools taken in response? Have the alleged perpetratorsinvestigation confirms that current pupils were acting been identified by the victim(s) online, and which ofin breach of school policy and displayed inappropriate these are current pupils? These factors will help todiscriminatory behaviour, the head may impose determine the next steps.sanctions in accordance with the schools behaviour Take advice and liaise with other agencies as neededpolicy. The chair should be informed of the outcomeThe chair should consider whether to take legalof the schools investigation.advice at the outset, given the seriousness of whatPreparing a responseThe chairs response to is alleged and the potential implications (includingthe former pupil should be approached with care potential reputational damage to the school if thebearing in mind the sensitivity of the allegation response is not properly and sensitively handled).and that any response may be shared by the former Discussions should also include whether to liaise withpupil in a public forum eg via social media. PR and/external agencies, such as the police (if a crime mayor legal advice should be sought as appropriate. Any www.independentinsight.netIwww.iexcellence.co.ukIwww.i25awards.co.uk 21'