PCC Coppinger is joined by former Middlesbrough FC star, Dean Gordon and Deputy Head, David Hodgson, and pupils of Overfields Primary School, .
Show Racism the Red Card – that’s the message from Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger as he teams-up with one of the country’s top footballing charities for an education programme in Cleveland schools.
Pupils from schools across Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland and Stockton will hear about the serious consequences of racism, but delivered in a fun way through fitness and education sessions with former and current professional footballers.
Mr Coppinger has provided funding for the project, which will be delivered by staff from North East charity, Show Racism the Red Card - who are well known for offering successful programmes across the country. Teachers will also be given training to help them challenge any racist attitudes or stereotypes within the classroom.
The Police and Crime Commissioner said: "Football brings people together, and what better way to deliver serious and important messages than through the medium of sport.
"In today’s society, it’s completely unacceptable that people can still be judged by the colour of their skin. Working with Show Racism the Red Card helps young people to understand what racism means and the consequences, so they can use the information to challenge racism in the communities that they live as they grow older.
"The programme also helps youngsters to foster good relationships and respect difference in society, regardless of their race. We must deal with racism openly and honestly. I am pleased to be working with Show Racism the Red Card and am looking forward to sitting in on a session myself, although I may leave the football skills to the pupils!"
Laura Pidcock, North East Education Team Manager for Show Racism the Red Card, added: "Show Racism the Red Card is really pleased to be working in Cleveland again thanks to the funding that has been awarded by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
"Unfortunately racism is still a problem in our communities, with many young people believing the myths and rumours perpetuated in the mainstream media. We know there is anger and resentment aimed at minority communities and those who are, or who are perceived to be immigrants.
"Our workshops look to dispel these populist myths, provide young people with an alternative view and ask them to think critically about the world around them. Young people will also take part in a football fitness session with an ex-professional footballer and hear a personal testimony of their experiences of racism.
"Crucially, this funding allows us to work with teachers, through three teacher training summits which will take place in November. Having teachers who feel confident to talk about sensitive issues and who also feel able to deal with racism, should it occur, is the key to the sustainability of anti-racism education."
Ex-Middlesbrough football player and Show Racism the Red Card Football Coach, Dean Gordon, who will be attending the sessions, said: "It is really important that we keep the issue of racism on the agenda and that young people know their rights and responsibilities as citizens in their communities.
"Going into schools and sharing my experiences of racism is not easy, but it certainly is rewarding. Racism has such a negative impact on our society, adults have a responsibility to free young people of the burden of prejudice, to allow them to fully enjoy the world and its diversity."
For more information about booking a school workshop or a place at teacher training please call 0191 2576200.
Posted on Monday 6th July 2015