Tunstall schoolgirl ordered to apologise for racist internet comments
A 12-YEAR-OLD girl has been ordered by police to apologise to an Asian classmate after sending her racist comments on the internet.
The youngster attends a high school in the Tunstall area and agreed to visit the home of her 12-year-old victim to issue a personal apology.
The incident is one of 40 cases so far dealt with through a so-called restorative justice scheme being piloted in Stoke-on-Trent North.
Twelve of the cases have involved cases in schools.
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Other incidents involving youngsters include:
- A 14-year-old boy who was told to write a letter of apology to a younger pupil after throwing a can of pop at the girl;
- A boy who was told to apologise to his teachers after verbally abusing a teacher and punching a school noticeboard;
- A group of 13 to 14-year-old boys who were told to return property stolen in a burglary and apologise to the victim.
Staffordshire Police’s Restorative Justice programme sees offenders avoid arrest for minor offences by agreeing a resolution with the injured party.
It allows the perpetrators to come face-to-face with their victims.
Sergeant Phillip Ferns, from the Stoke-on-Trent North Local Policing Unit, said: “This scheme gives the police and victims of crime another way of solving an incident.
“We usually apply it to low-level criminal damage or behaviour because it gives us another option to bring the victim and perpetrator together and reach an agreement.
“I think the restorative justice programme is working and it is good and effective for victims.
“That can be in the form of an apology or a letter or putting something right.”
The scheme is also being used in schools to crackdown on bad behaviour.
Asked about the 12-year-old told to apologise for racist comments, Sgt Ferns said: “Sending offensive text messages or posting on a social network site can constitute an offence.
“But the way it was resolved in this case was that an apology had been made. It also allows us to monitor whether it happens again.”
Around 20 volunteers have currently signed up to sit on neighbourhood resolution panels which help the victims and offenders discuss the crimes together.
Dawn Cliff, from Stoke-on-Trent Safer City Partnership, said: “Taking part in the scheme is voluntary and offenders and victims have to agree to participate.
“If either feel uncomfortable the case will be dealt with in the traditional way.”