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Fighting racism in basic schools

A growing concern about racism and all forms of aggression is present in education environments. In order to reduce and mitigate the wave of aggression and hate speech, professionals from Italy, Greece, Portugal and Norway have created, with the support of the European Union Erasmus+ Program, a research and training program called “Using behavior Analysis preventing and addressing racism in primary schools”.

Since September 2019 and until August 2022 the program started and will be coordinated by the Department of Psychology  of the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens – with 5 more partners: Oslomet University from Norway; 1 public entity branch of the Greek Ministry of Education (Western Attica Administrative Office); and 3 NGO’s – OXFAM from Italy, Action Aid Hellas from Greece and 4Change from Portugal.

This project is an answer to the racism-based violence that remains in clear or subtle ways in most EU member states: verbal abuse, discrimination, graffiti, harassment, vandalism, physical assault, or even murder. Despite a number of legal instruments that offer protection against racism and related forms of intolerance, ethnic and religious minorities across the EU continue to face racism, discrimination, verbal and physical violence, and exclusion (according to FRA 2019).

Such a situation is reflected in education and racism in the classroom is a persistent problem. Existing interventions to prevent and address racism in schools are based on punishment, which is ineffective according to experimental and applied behavior analysis. Educators are being confronted with racism in school classes, without possessing the required experience and expertise in order to handle such incidents effectively.

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