RACIST and anti-gay bullying is on the rise in Scottish schools despite authorities campaigning for years for greater tolerance and a change in attitudes, a report has found.
A wide-ranging study of the problem, which took in school pupils’ testimonies, revealed that gender-based bullying and harassment is “commonplace” in some classrooms while prejudice remains rife among some young people.

More than a quarter of LGBT pupils have attempted suicide after encountering discrimination at the hands of their peers, and there were also reports of pre-teenagers being coerced into sexual activity by older pupils.

MSPs on Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee have called on the Scottish Government to do more to tackle bullying, saying they were “gravely concerned” by the extent and seriousness of the problems they encountered when taking evidence on the issue.

Members said their inquiry had uncovered “a real sense that prejudice-based bullying is on the increase”, and concluded racism “has made a resurgence”, gender-based bullying and harassment “appears to be commonplace”, and bullying towards young lesbian or gay people “is still prevalent”.

The committee has made 29 recommendations, among them measures it wants the Scottish Government to adopt in its forthcoming refreshed anti-bullying strategy.

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