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Derbyshire school students #SayNotoHate

25 October 2019

Staff from P3 spoke at an event informing school students about hate crime in Derbyshire last week.

The event, called ‘Spectrum of Hate’, was organised by the Police Safer Neighbourhood Team and Derby Homes, for Year 8 students at West Park School in Spondon.

Hate crime is defined as: ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.’

People representing protected characteristics such as sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity shared personal experiences and encouraged the children to ask questions in an effort to prevent hate crimes and create safer communities for the future.

PCSO Kelsey Mumford brought the speakers together:

“Spondon has been predominantly White British until the last few years; the kids may not have met anyone from different communities. We’re trying to be proactive and work with local organisations as a collective so that the kids know they are not alone, no matter their skin colour, finances, identity … we are all beautifully different in our way, and that’s ok.”

As a result of the day, several students felt able to open up about their own experiences and feelings with some of the people who were speaking.

Rachel, who was representing the transgender community, said:

“If I’ve reached one person or 100, that one person still matters. By the end of the day, I was asking the children ‘do you see me any differently to you’ and they said no.”

Claire Robinson and Lucy Mole from P3’s Derbyshire Independent Living Service covered the mental health perspective in their talk, demonstrating how the words we use to describe people experiencing mental ill health can have lasting damage.

The children were all given a sheet of paper. The group discussed different words, and if they decided a word was derogatory, the children ripped a piece off their paper. They were then encouraged to try and stick their sheet back together. Finding this hard, one boy observed:

“When you are called names, it’s hard to put yourself back together again.”

Ruby, who was also one of the mental health sessions, said:

“They told us quite a lot about how people get treated. Even if they are different, you don’t have to treat them badly. The words people use can tear people apart.”