Prejudice…

Today, I had a meeting with the children in my school’s School Council. I head that (along with the other hats I wear at work!) and we needed a meeting to discuss a few points ahead of the governors meeting tomorrow, so we could present the ‘Pupil Voice’.

One of the topics we were discussing was prejudice. I wanted to gauge the children’s perception or understanding of the word, and then with a very simple explanation to let them know what it was, and whether they feel that as a school do we deal with prejudice positively, and what we could do to combat it.

To break it down I said,

“Prejudice is when you look at a person, place or situation with ideas in your head, preconceived ideas, about how that person will be, or what that place will be like, or whether you could handle that situation, without actually knowing anything.”

We talked about how you could judge a person on what table they were sat at in the classroom, if the tables were set in ability groups, or a certain classroom, because you had heard about a particular teacher. Then we touched upon race too.

The children had never heard the term before which I thought was positive – you would hope that children under the age of 11 were not too aware of these things, much less exposed to it.

They gave me feedback on how they felt we combatted prejudice in the classroom, using Kagan seating, children had ‘buddies’ of different abilities on each table so they could help each other.

They suggested having an International Food Club, or lessons involving various multicultural instruments, or sports too.

All this was great, and as I left tonight, I was full of positivity, proud of the children’s ideas within the meeting.

Then I encountered a prejudice of my own. A fear of groups of loitering teenager.

Walking across the playground to our car park, I encountered three teenagers. They shouldn’t have been where they were. I asked if I could help them ( it was dark, by the way) and they said they were waiting for a cousin. That could have been true had it been half an hour previous, but at this time, most of the children have left.

They proceeded to climb equipment, so I requested that they leave. Luckily the caretaker came by then, and we both escorted them through where they said they had come, which was not actually a gate we had in use.

As they tried to disappear before we got close to them, one started climbing a fence, and I told him there were cameras, and that they should not come back here.

Of course, they finally made their way out, but not before telling me to “F off, you sl*g!” twice. I got the office manager to come out too, and she stood with us as they mouthed off. They also told the caretaker to “Go back home you P*ki!”, to which he said “You’re wrong there!” (He’s Indian, like me, not Pakistani!)

They loitered outside the gate, and I thanked goodness that I was parked in our staff car park at the other end of the school. The caretaker walked me to the car, mentioning that they had been in one of the other playgrounds, stating they were waiting for their sister before too!

I still drove my car surreptitiously past the entrance that they used to exit, to make sure they weren’t still there, so I could warn the Office Manager. Thankfully they had left by then.

In this situation, I fear my prejudice was well-founded. There are far too many teens that hang around the streets intimidating people walking past, sometimes, just by their presence, rather than by actually doing anything. This time though, they were on school property! And acting cocky is one thing, but had I been alone, they could have done anything, though considering they waited until they were half out the gate before slinging abuse at us, I doubt they had the backbone to try. But still, you never know…

I talk to my own child about this kind of behaviour, and hope he never thinks it’s okay to just hang about like that, and definitely not to trespass!

Okay, I’m off to chill myself out now!

Have a good evening Peeps!

 

100 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tikeetha T
    Nov 15, 2017 @ 21:30:02

    Sometimes the fear of what is happening around us makes us more observant of people and we tend to take a “better safe than sorry approach.” I say this to mean that maybe it’s not prejudice more so than you are being cautious. Does this make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Adventures of a New Floridian
    Nov 12, 2017 @ 07:08:00

    Situations like this can be intimidating. You never know what people are wanting to do or thinking about doing. Having preconceived notions about people isn’t always great, but sometimes the gut feels we get can keep us and others safe. I’ve been watching Criminal Minds lately, and it certainly makes me a lot more conscious about situations! Haha!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. cookandenjoyrecipes
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 18:32:41

    So glad you came out unscathed from this incident Ritu and as you mentioned in a previous comment that you do have cameras. Cameras are very useful, but not if something should have happened to you at the time. Thank goodness you also had the office manager and caretaker there as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  4. Theresa | Bridesmaids Confession
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 18:18:13

    I think that was a gut reaction more than a prejudice. Being much older than the kids, you know what they’re up to even though they think you’re stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  5. Carol
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 16:13:08

    How awful for you Ritu but it sounds like it was dealt with correctly and such a shame that it should happen…Where does it come from….I have always said home and then thought that I had no friends like that so I must be wrong but I have watched quite a few programmes lately and am appalled at the hate that spills forth..A good post Ritu 🙂 as it raises awareness 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Nov 11, 2017 @ 17:11:14

      It seems to be something getting worse with time Carol. We can only try our best at home and school to nurture our charges correctly in the hope that they learn the right ways!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • Carol
        Nov 11, 2017 @ 23:46:07

        I know Ritu sometimes it is quite scary the hate I see..real hate and I do wonder where it stems from are there really so many bad parents…and if so ..something is fundamentally so wrong with our society today. I applaud those who try but do wonder if it will, in the end be enough …

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Nov 11, 2017 @ 23:57:00

        For every young person I see who has an issue like this… I encounter one who has the hits to challenge. But there is also the one who will sit quietly… not wanting to get involved despite knowing right from wrong. If we could make those understand it is right to challenge prejudiced behaviour then the world could be an even better place. We can but try xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Carol
        Nov 12, 2017 @ 00:50:39

        It is a sad fact thre are too many who do that and you are right we can but try and also teach our kids to try 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Nov 12, 2017 @ 08:55:40

        😊

        Like

  6. Claire Saul (PainPalsBlog)
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 15:38:33

    I’m going to focus on the School Council part! Having been the governor sitting in Pupil Voice and committee meetings, the primary aged kids never fail to amaze me with their thoughts and sometimes wisdom beyond their years. It is talking with them about subjects like prejudice, race, gender etc that helps to give them a firm grounding in morals, behaviours and respect that hopefully they will take into their teens and beyond. As for teens hanging around…I could write you an essay! I do worry when my daughter and her friends go out – but of course they know best and never think they will come up against any issues. Keep up the good work with your young charges, Ritu – so important!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  7. Gabe Burkhardt
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 15:20:11

    I love that you chose to stand firm in this situation Ritu. Many would recognize that they were behaving inappropriately but choose to ignore them. I’m even more glad that you didn’t have to stand alone, and that the situation dissipated without further violence. The blogosphere (and your students) need regular doses of Ritu!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  8. Gloria
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 14:39:50

    How awful for you Ritu. This kind of thing makes my blood boil! 😑

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  9. You Can Always Start Now
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 13:19:58

    I read it nodding my head. When I am walking (all the time as I don’t own a vehicle) I am always more leery of a group of teenagers than anyone else – including a big burly man. There is something to be said for crowd mentality (scary).

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  10. thebigmoneysaver
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 11:15:46

    I’m sorry that happened to you, Ritu. The Caretaker sounds like a nice man and it’s very fortunate he was there and walked you to your car. Half the battle is talking to our own kids and teaching them that this behavior is not ok – which you did. I’m glad the school children worked together so well to fight prejudice.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  11. Denzil - Life Sentences
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 10:52:38

    It’s horrendous that you experienced such behavior Ritu! That whole event could have played out exactly the same back in the 1970s where I grew up in the Midlands. It’s shameful that things haven’t changed, 40 years later.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  12. MindOverMeta
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 09:33:56

    I’m sorry you had that experience, Ritu, but your intuition paid off in this case. I must admit, I do feel wary if I’m walking past a group of teenagers. This is obviously my own prejudice about feeling they’re going to say something. I guess this has come from seeing it happen before, but I understand that it’s unfair to tar everyone with the same brush. It’s a difficult one :/

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  13. mistybooks
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 09:15:06

    Sadly prejudice in all its forms still abounds, racial, sexist, ageist etc. A bit depressing really for this day & age.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  14. arv!
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 09:12:16

    Prejudices is part of human behavior, it will be difficult to get rid of it..completely! Racism seems to be on a rise..may be because of the unfortunate incidents happening in Europe! Locals feel intimidated!
    Stay safe Ritu!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  15. yourvetonline1
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 09:03:43

    Society is becoming uncontrollable 😢
    Animal Farm anyone?
    Thanks for doing the job of parents.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  16. Fiona Maclean
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 08:38:34

    Prejudice has existed for a long time – I’m glad you were tackling it with your pupils. I hope someone finds the teenagers and can get through to them that what they are doing is both inappropriate and upsetting.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Nov 11, 2017 @ 08:50:56

      It’s a tough one… you know, you don’t really want to tell kids about prejudice … but if they don’t know how can we teach them to combat it? X

      Like

      Reply

  17. Shailaja V
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 08:31:44

    Wow that must have been a chilling experience, Ritu! So glad you’re okay. In this case your instinct was well founded, I’d say. I wouldn’t call this prejudice, I’d just call it a good sixth sense.

    I hope our kids grow up knowing what prejudice is and what to avoid, of course. But they always have to be alert for this kind of wayward behaviour and learn to steer clear. I hope so.

    Again, glad you’re doing okay!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  18. fancypaperblog
    Nov 11, 2017 @ 08:17:21

    I read this earlier in the week and it resonated. It is so difficult to fight this type of prejudice. I hope you know that these kids will never be fully happy if they are restricted by these thoughts x

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  19. Persia
    Nov 09, 2017 @ 21:18:55

    Oh my gosh, Ritu. I’m so glad you were not hurt (the caretaker as well). The youth of today… smh…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  20. Judy E Martin
    Nov 09, 2017 @ 20:25:19

    I am glad you are ok, Sis. That must have been a pretty scary experience. I am wary of groups of teenagers too, they can be very intimidating.It’s heartening that the kids on the school council had so many positive ideas about combatting prejudice, it is a shame those yobbos couldn’t take a leaf out of their book!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  21. Marje @ Kyrosmagica
    Nov 09, 2017 @ 06:52:48

    Oh Ritu what a shame that the positive talk about prejudice was followed by this encounter. Thank heavens you were not alone. I’ve noticed a bunch of teens hanging about the evening class that I attend in the dark too. They seem okay just nothing to do. It is worrying.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Nov 09, 2017 @ 07:04:57

      And the thing is that they may be perfectly harmless, but their presence, especially during the dark evenings, in these groups, can be perceived to be menacing… do they not realise what some people view them as? Thugs!
      I feel for the elderly who may have no choice but to walk past them, feeling scared …

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  22. Anindya
    Nov 09, 2017 @ 05:54:52

    This is an universal problem, which you were rightly discussing with the kids….awareness and education at the proper levels is the best counter to address such incidents from happening in the future…..glad that everything is alright.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  23. Aimer Boyz
    Nov 09, 2017 @ 02:06:23

    As far as those teenagers go, being careful is not being prejudiced.
    I am heartened to hear that your students learned about race and prejudice in your classroom and not from slurs yelled in the street. Hopeful:)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  24. joey
    Nov 09, 2017 @ 01:54:18

    Gracious. I’m so glad nothing worse happened. 🙂 I’m certainly glad you’re addressing these types of issues with the students as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Nov 09, 2017 @ 06:57:54

      Thanks for your concern Joey!
      It is important in this day and age to approach certain topics in a child friendly way, because our kids are exposed to so much more nowadays….

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  25. Jennie
    Nov 09, 2017 @ 01:27:23

    Your students had the BEST input and ideas, Ritu. Really! As to the teenage thugs, you were not prejudice at all. It was simply a matter of right and wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  26. pranabaxom
    Nov 09, 2017 @ 01:07:00

    As you explained to the kids, prejudice comes from preconceived notions or ideas. Caution and sixth sense are based on experience.
    Glad that things did not take a nasty turn.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  27. syl65
    Nov 08, 2017 @ 22:38:44

    First off, I’m glad and the other staff members are okay because you never know which way the situation could have went. I see a lot of loitering teens on weekends hanging out and it can be intimidating. These teens you shooed away were all bark and no bite, thank goodness.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  28. TanGental
    Nov 08, 2017 @ 22:34:44

    Golly. I’d have run a mile. I had to remonstrate with a couple of boys who were scaring the dog with an umbrella the other day. They were about 7 or 8. Then their carer appeared and had a go at me for talking to them and accused me if being racist (their ethnicity was different to mine). That floors me every time. She said I needed to control my dog which was why they were waving the umbrella at him. Since he was tied up that was laughable. I had a lot of different thoughts and retorts but in the end I simply walked away seething. Glad you were safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Nov 09, 2017 @ 06:52:38

      Sometimes you do just have to walk away, His Geoffleship, despite your instincts screaming out that what is happening is wrong. This time thought, they were on school property, and though it was dark, I still have young kids in the building who are at after school club, and they could be really scared by these big boys jumping around on their equipment while it is so dark. Thank you for your concern though, it was pretty nerve wracking!

      Like

      Reply

  29. Michael
    Nov 08, 2017 @ 22:27:43

    Its very unnerving Ritu as I know from experience….over here we have gates and fences and when there are evening activities only certain gates are open….its a slight on society isn’t that these youths feel they have some right to be where they shouldn’t be and that they live in a time when so many of them are bored and so look for ways to find ‘entertainment’. So I hope you found the appropriate ways to chill out when you got home.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Nov 09, 2017 @ 06:49:50

      And the fact that at such a young age, they feel they can be so intimidating, acting as if they have every right, no fear in them at all…
      Thanks for your concern Michael. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  30. Allie P.
    Nov 08, 2017 @ 22:19:14

    I know what you mean. I was walking my dog past a group of boys laughing loudly in one of those not so nice laughs. I was immediately on edge, though there was no reason to be. They were just sitting on a bench in a common area. As I came closer I heard what was so funny. They were making fun of an elderly couple across the street who were enjoying the company of a grandchild. The couple started to walk away. The boys followed continuing with their petty jokes loud enough for the couple and the confused child to hear. I shooed them away. Then I stormed into my house and told my boys I never, ever, ever wanted to hear them say or do anything like what I’d seen. Maybe I overreacted, but I feel it was best to cut off the potential for bad behavior before it took root.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Nov 08, 2017 @ 22:22:19

      It is so worrying that kids do this with no thought of the impact on their ‘victims’.
      You did exactly what I did. Go home and male sure my kids were aware of my ecpectations of their behaviour!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  31. Fourth Generation Farmgirl
    Nov 08, 2017 @ 21:14:32

    Thank you for sharing an important, thoughtful, and timely post, Ritu. Your experience sounds very disconcerting. I’m just glad you had peers with you and everyone was safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  32. OIKOS™-Redaktion
    Nov 08, 2017 @ 21:00:19

    Reply

  33. Erika Kind
    Nov 08, 2017 @ 20:59:02

    It is great that you are discussing this with the kids. And yes, unfortunately, such cases you experienced fuel the fire for prejudice. I think we always need to be cautious and trust our instinct when we smell danger but that is not necessarily prejudiced.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  34. John Holton
    Nov 08, 2017 @ 20:10:15

    As with everything, there’s good prejudice and there’s bad prejudice. Good prejudice keeps you alive and unharmed. You were absolutely right to question why they were hanging around.

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply

  35. stevetanham
    Nov 08, 2017 @ 19:44:49

    Brave and wonderful, Rita. Shows what teachers do, as routines, and don’t get paid for.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  36. colinandray
    Nov 08, 2017 @ 19:39:40

    I don’t think that was prejudice on your part at all, but more caution based on some known parameters. Three teenagers in different circumstances would not have necessarily been an issue, but hanging around at night, on property that they had no business with???? That’s just plain good rationalization of the circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  37. IreneDesign2011
    Nov 08, 2017 @ 19:17:26

    Good to read, that nothing more bad happened, Ritu. Take good care of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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