Pupils from two Dumbarton schools have teamed up with Nil By Mouth to explore difference, discrimination and tackle sectarianism together.
P6 pupils from Knoxland Primary joined their counterparts at St. Patrick’s Primary to start their partnership by participating in a joint Nil By Mouth workshop through the charity’s ‘United Against Division' programme.
During the event pupils explored what sectarianism is, how it manifests and why it might relate to them and also learned about the history of Nil By Mouth, which was set up in the wake of the sectarian murder of teenager Mark Scott. Learners worked in groups to discuss why this incident is regarded as sectarian and why the colour of Mark’s football scarf saw him targeted.
The following week roles were reversed when St. Patrick’s pupils visited Knoxland for their second workshop ‘Pause B4 U Post’. This is specially designed to examine the pitfalls and consequences of negative language and behaviour on social media/mobile devices. Pupils were encouraged to discuss their online habits and consider how things they post can be viewed by others. The workshop included specific case studies looking at discriminatory comments including things that may be seen sectarian, racist or homophobic. Pupils also looked at the positive impact social media can have, when used appropriately.
The partnership between the two schools is a first for Nil By Mouth in West Dunbartonshire and one the charity hopes other schools across the authority will replicate.
Nil By Mouth Education Officer, Jamie Lithgow, Said:
'It was a pleasure to visit Knoxland and St. Patrick’s over the past two weeks to work with such a funny, clever and thoughtful group of children. They have set a fantastic example for other schools and I hope their partnership can continue moving forward.
Both sets of pupils now have a deeper understanding of discrimination, sectarianism and their online habits. We are not naïve enough to think that just because these school pupils do not meet the minimum age requirement to have a social media account that they are not already using these platforms. We just want them to feel safe and understand the potential consequences of their actions. Its important children can feel they can talk to adults about what is happening online as so much of our lives now occurs there.
At the end of the day, whether its social media or football, these things are meant to be fun and we just want to keep it that way.”