Children are being taught “dreadful lessons” by attacks on politicians and journalists over Brexit, the principal of one of the UK’s top schools has warned.
Lisa Kerr, principal of Gordonstoun, has called on educators to teach tolerance and respect following the harassment this week of politicians and journalists outside Westminster.
Guardian journalist Owen Jones and Conservative MP Anna Soubry were both harassed by protesters in favour of Brexit earlier this week.
Ms Kerr said: “It seems that simply taking part in a topical and important debate now makes you a target for abuse. As well as being deeply depressing for us adults, this is teaching dreadful lessons to our children.
“As educators of today, we must be sure we are teaching future generations the lessons learned from the past. We may be about to exit an economic and political union, but we can still be tolerant of each other’s beliefs and recognise the value of each other’s cultures.”
Gordonstoun was founded by a Jewish headmaster, Dr Kurt Hahn, who fled Nazi Germany after openly criticising Hitler.
The school outlined its founding ethos as building tolerance and understanding between people of different nationalities and backgrounds.
“Particularly at times like these, education has a vital role to play in helping young people to learn about the common threads of humanity,” said Ms Kerr.
“Inaccurate assumptions about people from other countries have fuelled a rise in racism which has set people against each other.
“Education can immunise our young people against the destructive rhetoric of a society concerned about protectionism rather than protecting the vulnerable, about taking back control rather than taking positive action, about closing borders rather than opening closed minds.”