Only ONE report of RACIST behaviour by a teacher in FIVE years in SCOTLAND? That must be wrong. Find more!


You’ll remember, yawn, that I used to teach research methods to the bairns and supervised bigger PhD weans. See if one them came to me wanting to research racist behaviour by Scottish teachers because only one case in the last five years has been reported to the GTC and that because they’ve heard its not getting reported it must be more common, so it is, by the way, but, it’d be short thrift for them! You can’t just imagine a phenomenon because there’s ‘growing concern’ and you want it to be there so that you can conveniently prove that what you always thought was the case, is the case. That’s not research!

This is a return to the wider, subconsciously driven, attempts by some in our NoMedia to remind Scots not to get too cocky about being different on racism.

Reporting Scotland, back in September 2018, on racism in Scotland was, well, about more racism but NOT in Scotland.

We heard about a worthy EIS initiative to reduce racism in Scottish schools, but Reporting Scotland clearly felt they should be able to justify the project with evidence of a need for it. They couldn’t find any Scottish examples, so we had mention of the Manchester Arena bomb attack and some anecdotal tales from Anas Sarwar.


What we didn’t have was:

‘There were 3,349 [hate crime] charges reported [in Scotland] in 2016-17, 10 percent fewer than in 2015-16, and the lowest number reported since 2003-04.’

Remember these figures include graffiti, passing comments and tweets, anti-semitic (only 17), racism and attacks against the English, East Europeans, Roma, Sikhs, Catholics and presumably Protestants too.

In England and Wales, however:

 ‘Hate crimes have rocketed by almost a third in the UK in the past year, with unprecedented spikes around the EU referendum and terror attacks recorded by police. New figures released by the Home Office confirm victims’ reports of a dramatic increase in incidents motivated by attackers’ hostility towards their race, nationality, religion or other factors. Data from police forces across England and Wales showed there were almost 80,400 hate crimes recorded in the 2016/17 financial year.’

So, is it, maybe, not being reported to the GTC because its just not happening here, enough for a big dramatic report ?


2 thoughts on “Only ONE report of RACIST behaviour by a teacher in FIVE years in SCOTLAND? That must be wrong. Find more!

  1. Alasdair Macdonald January 6, 2019 / 1:54 pm

    It is a variation on the ‘tip of the iceberg’ fallacy, which is used, unfortunately, by some campaigners for genuinely worthy causes, and some unworthy ones, too. By using a big number they seek to get attention to their cause and to evoke, they hope (think?), sympathy, which might result in better funding or beneficial changes to funding.

    But, often, as you have demonstrated on numerous occasions, the data does not really support their lurid claim, so they resort to the ‘tip of the iceberg’ line, where they claim – with only anecdotal evidence – that victims and other sufferers do not report things or that what they report is not accepted, by, say, the police or official bodies. Undoubtedly there were and continue to be instances of unsympathetic officials, but things have changed and continue to do so. It is progress that more women are prepared to complain about sexual harassment and even serious crimes against them.

    However, the ‘tip of the iceberg’ argument often proves to be mendacious and wilfully so.

    In the case of racism in schools, the EIS, to its great credit has been proactive in the development of good humane policies. As a member of that union for many years, I know that it has, on the whole been a positive force in Scottish education. That was one of the reasons why I remained a member during my entire career. However, it is also a trade union and has to support individual members in specific cases. If a teacher suffers racist abuse, for example, it will advocate strongly on that member’s behalf, and, sometimes, that support, will include hyperbole and unsubstantiated assertion to bolster the argument. It is such things that Nomedia seize on and headline. Similarly, if a teacher is accused of having been racist, the EIS will advocate on behalf of that member. Having investigated such allegations – only two or three over nearly 30 years – usually the more lurid aspects of the allegations could not be sustained and so the case or that aspect of it had to be dismissed. This was even under the less demanding ‘balance of probabilities’ test, which had a lower threshhold than ‘reasonable doubt’. Sadly, the claimant did not accept this and would go to the Nomedia with a story.

    I have had to give evidence to GTC hearings and the questioning of my evidence is examined very rigorously

    Sadly, I think that there are cases where members ‘get off with’ bad behaviour and this leaves a bad taste in the mouth and a sense that I have let the complainant down. However, I do not think such cases are numerous. They are hugely important to the victim/alleged victim and understandably disappointing, but, I think these are rare occurrences. I am not dismissing them as unworthy causes. I am simply saying that the numbers are very few.

    The are some good journalists who would devote time to sifting through the story and there were many honourable journalists in the past, who were saddled with the term ‘muckrakers’ to discredit them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brian January 7, 2019 / 1:10 pm

    What an absolutely appaling piece of reporting by the Herald. Every time I think they can’t stoop any lower, they surprise me.
    When I was young (here we go…) my father, a Labour councillor, tried to show me which newspapers to trust and which not. The “which not” were those who “manufactured news”, and he gave me examples. It was a good lesson.
    This Herald piece is what he meant by “manufactured news”.


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