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31 July 2016, 06:00
Around 3,000 racist incidents have been reported in schools since 2011, according to new figures compiled by the Scottish Liberal Democrats.
Freedom of information requests by the party uncovered almost 2,000 racist incidents in primary schools and 1,000 in secondary schools between 2011/12 and 2015/16
Figures were provided by 26 out of 32 local authorities, although Glasgow City Council and Aberdeen City Council were not included. Some local authorities did not supply data for every year.
Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman Tavish Scott urged local authorities and ministers to ensure that all children feel welcome and secure when they return to school next month.
He said: "These figures suggest that since 2011 some progress has been made in challenging racism in our schools.
"But many more incidents will still go unreported and we cannot allow there to be a spike in racist incidents in schools following the result of the EU referendum.
"Reports suggest we have seen a surge in racist incidents around the United Kingdom after the Brexit vote and the last thing we need to see is that replicated in our schools when they return from the holidays.
"Ministers and local authorities need to work together to reinforce efforts to ensure every child feels welcome and secure when they return to school next month. Now more than ever there needs to be a strong emphasis on early intervention.
"To achieve a fairer society, where everyone has the chance to get on in life regardless of their racial or ethnic background, we need to have a fully inclusive education system where children and teachers can feel confident in challenging racism.''
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "Bullying of any form is entirely unacceptable and it is very welcome that in the last two years, the number of recorded incidents of abuse in this form fell by almost half in primary schools, and by a quarter in secondary schools.
"Nevertheless, we still need to be vigilant in challenging any racist, homophobic and abusive behaviour in our schools.
"We will continue to work with local authorities and teachers to support them to deal with these problems as they arrive so that our children grow up with respect for themselves and each other.''