Step 8: Diversity Code and Policy Review
Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel
(Greek precept, Socrates)
Step 8 Goals
1. Involving young people in writing a Diversity Code for the school
2. Reviewing and updating the anti-racism/diversity policy for the school
Now that the students have taken part in lessons and Yellow Flag activities, and have a grasp of the concepts and terms related to interculturalism, you can begin work on your Diversity Code.
What is a Diversity Code?
A Diversity Code is a written document that shows how your school thinks and feels about cultural diversity – it can be a phrase, poem, song, rap or statement. The Diversity Code is made by the young people in the school. It involves gathering ideas from students in all classes – and then working as a group to come up with a catchy and meaningful code for your school. How you express your code is up to you!
What does cultural diversity mean in our school?
Why review our school policies?
Protecting children from racism should already be included in your anti-bullying policy. This step is about going further and considering what policies can be put in place to promote diversity and an intercultural ethos. It will ensure that your achievements for Yellow Flag will continue into the future.
What process should we use to review the policies?
Begin by looking at your anti-bullying policy – does it include identity bullying and racist bullying, in line with Department of Education guidelines (2013). Also consider the positive actions you can put in place to prevent identity bullying.
Many Yellow Flag schools have also drafted a stand-alone diversity policy, rather than making changes to a good anti-bullying policy. This should include ….
- The school vision regarding anti-racism and cultural diversity
- Actions to promote cultural diversity and address racism
- The responsibilities of each person named in the policy (the Designated Person, Students, Teachers, Principal etc.)
- How students can report racist incidents and how the school will deal with them
- How you will share the anti-racism and diversity policy with the wider school community
The Department (2013) recommends that formulating policies involves the Board of Management in cooperation with teaching and non-teaching staff, under the leadership of the Principal and in consultation with parents and pupils (p17). As this can take some time it is best to start as early as possible (Jan to March). The board of management will need to meet near the end of the year to adopt any new policies. Make a request to the Principal to schedule a board meeting before Christmas. Each school should follow their own procedures for updating their policies. To make sure that you are following the law in relation to human rights and equality, go to the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission for useful guides and tools.
As part of your commitment to addressing racism, schools and students can opt to report any racist incident to http://www.ireport.ie/ (There is a link to ireport on the Yellow Flag home page). This is a civil society based racist reporting system . The data generated is used to inform quarterly and annual reports, and used to inform the public, support lobbying submissions, and contribute to a broader national conversation on racism.
YF Students, Teachers and Parents
Are our current policies (school rules) up to scratch?
Sharing your Diversity Code and Diversity Policy
Schools use lots of ways to celebrate and share their new Diversity Code – launching it at a school celebration, announcing it over the intercom, putting it on the Yellow Flag notice board, putting it in local papers. Likewise, it is good to share your Diversity Policy – refer to it in next year’s school journal, alert parents to it via a text, promote it on your school website.
Find out more