Those who engage in racist acts will be counselled, disciplined: MOE

Students and staff who experience racial discrimination in schools should raise the matter 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.

In one incident, an anonymous user said that while their Tamil language teacher in primary school was on leave, pupils studying Tamil were made to stay behind in the classroom during Chinese-language lessons and sit on the floor.

In another incident, a user who identified himself as a Sikh said he was often ridiculed for wearing his turban and assaulted in his all-boys primary school.

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.

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. - THE STRAITS TIMES