|This project is a joint initiative between Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council and the Leicestershire Constabulary.
The original ‘Throwing Stones’ resource was launched in 2003 and has been updated in 2011 providing a web based resource to support the whole community to tackle racist incidents and racist bullying.
History of Throwing Stones project
The project which became 'Throwing Stones' was conceived by Leicestershire police in 1995 after a series of abusive racist incidents on a housing estate in Leicester. The targets of this abuse were mostly Asian women taking their children to a local school. Those responsible for the incidents were children and young people who lived locally, almost all of them white children.
Resources available for this type of work were poor, so the police, with Clive Twigg and Kev Love leading on this, decided to produce a video and teachers' pack of resource materials that could be used in primary schools across the UK. Resources were eventually secured in 2001 and a partnership of educational, theatrical and production experts and professionals was created. Kev set the project up with Gary Brown, Youth Theatre Director Leicester Hay Market Theatre and involved Philip Draycott, a professional TV and Video Director who runs Visionzone, a film and video company attached to DeMontfort University; Clive Billingham, the Advisory Teacher for Multicultural Education at Leicester City Council Education Department; Chino Cabon from The Race Equality Centre (TREC) and Nick Wood, scriptwriter and ex-primary teacher.
Workshops in the two schools were set up in Northfield House Primary and Merrydale Junior to develop film content. The filming followed with four professional actors to play the adults, principal young people filled by Haymarket Youth Theatre, and the other parts were played by the students from Merrydale and Northfield House. The teaching materials were written by Clive Billingham, Leicester City Council, with support from Chino Cabon, LREC. The materials were then piloted with primary and secondary classes.
Teachers and Heads thought that the materials filled a gap, that they engaged children’s thoughts and feelings and that the materials could be used in many areas: Literacy, Personal, Social & Health Education (PSHE),Drama, English, Assemblies, art work, wall posters and at parents' evenings.
Pupils were positive. They said it was like 'real life' and 'it is like they are saying it to you’. It raised strong and immediate feelings which the class drama and role play sessions were than able to work with in a safe and responsive environment. One question that kept coming up in the sessions we observed was the central one, 'Is Ian a racist?' Children cared about the answer.
Why Update Throwing Stones?
Throwing Stones continues to be an excellent resource. However the video format needed updating to make it more accessible and to include new legislation, guidance and resources. The end result is the Throwing Stones website.
Whilst much good work has taken place in this field, racist incidents are still
In 2009 the Leicester City Anti-Bullying Steering Group commissioned Mandeep Rupra Consulting to undertake a research project to explore the views of young people in regards to racist incidents and racist bullying. The research consulted 161 students from Years 5 to 12, in 5 Leicester City schools (4 secondary and 1 primary) and revealed how much a feature of everyday life racism still is.
These quotes were typical:
• People just come out with different words like Paki go back to your own country or stuff when you're in an argument. They'll just say it.
• People in school they normally sing them as a joke. They won't normally say them to people's faces at school. But out of school they'll normally say them to people's faces.
• When I go with my friends they hear me speaking Polish and throw things at me.
• "Go to your trees. Go have a banana”.
• Most of the white people will say "curry” to them [South Asians] and stuff.
The young people also spoke of the effects of such behaviour:
• I felt really intimidated. I was really shocked.
• It doesn't bother me when they said it about me, but it hurts me when it's about my parents. They've done so much for me and the words are really powerful because they don't know them.
• I'm scared to speak Polish. Even my friends might say something.
• You have to change your image to fit in with other people. I feel like crying.
• I was up late by my bed and started crying …it’s a word, you can remember it forever…You can go back to that day.
• But then, when you start feeling good about yourself ... then you can actually stick up for yourself ... and love yourself.
The young people explained what they felt should be done by schools:
• I say, just have respect for the student. They always say “respect us and we’ll respect you back”, but no they don’t. They don’t, like I don’t get nearly as much respect as I give out, so just respect the student, and respect their views.
• Take our problems seriously.
• Racist bullying is a really serious thing.
• Don’t promise to us when they can’t do it.
• They need to see it from the point of view of the person that’s being bullied.
• Just look at other students. Listen to them and their ideas.
• If teachers say they’re going to like help you with something that you’ve asked help for, then they should actually help you and not leave it to get worse.
• Walk in our shoes for a day and then they’ll see the different types of racism out on the playground.
• They should count everyone as one. Like, they should count each person as an individual. Bullying, they always do stuff on. Do more on racism.
• Sometimes they don’t realise how much racism is happening in the school. They don’t deal with it, but if they did they might not have done something and the students might feel a bit more comfortable and it would happen less.
• Teachers don’t understand that racist bullying is like, the same as racism and it can, like, ruins people's lives.
The resource allows anyone to watch the film, so it could be used in a range of settings from a youth club to a church as well as a school.
The website enables access to many other materials to challenge bullying in whatever form it takes. The web links re-direct the user to new sites allowing a widening of the topic, information and help. The sections are divided into the following:
• children and young people
To colleagues who gave advice, support and valued contributions to help with the development of the Throwing Stones site:
Clive Billingham, Multicultural Education Leicester City Council