You should always challenge discrimination, but to do this it is essential that you can recognise anti-discriminatory practice. Your role is to protect children from discrimination. If you ignore it when it happens, this will be regarded as tolerating discrimination.
Consider how a child may feel if they experience discrimination which is then unnoticed by a member of staff who is there to support them. The child could feel that you share the view of the guilty party or believe that the way they are being treated is ‘normal’. They may feel that they are in some way substandard. At the very least, they will feel let down that you did not protect their rights.
It can be difficult to challenge discrimination, particularly if it is institutional or practised by a colleague, so it is important that you consider how to deal with different and often difficult situations.
To be able to challenge discrimination you require knowledge of policy, procedures and practice.
If you feel confident about what is good practice, you will be able to deal more effectively with incidents that arise. When discrimination happens it may be intentional, but it can also be because of inexperience. It is not easy to change the views of others but you must challenge discriminatory comments and actions. It is important to learn assertiveness strategies that can help when you recognise discrimination. When challenging discrimination, you should:
1. Explain what has happened or what has been said that is discriminatory 2. State the effect of this on the individual, group and others 3. Suggest or model ways to ensure anti-discriminatory practice.
When you are concerned about anti-discriminatory practice, whether by staff or pupils in the school, you should speak to your manager or supervisor at the school. You must also be aware of the school’s policy when racism is happening.