Reports of racism

Processes, guidelines and resources to help manage reports of racism within the school community.

Any student, parent, carer, community or staff member who has experienced racism at school or in other work areas may make a report of racism. Reports of racism are addressed using the department’s Complaints Handling Policy and procedures in conjunction with the Anti-Racism Policy, Student Behaviour Policy, Code of Conduct, Direct Management Action framework and School Community Charter.

Reports of racist behaviour in schools displayed by students towards other students, teachers or community members are managed using the Anti-Racism Policy and Student Behaviour Policy.

Experiences, concerns or allegations of racist behaviour by an employee may constitute misconduct. These issues should be reported to the department’s Professional and Ethical Standards Directorate (PES), which is responsible for maintaining appropriate standards of conduct and performance across the department.

How do I report racism?

All reports of racism are taken seriously and the issue and resolution should be recorded.

Reports of racism in schools can be made to any member of staff and are best supported by the Anti-Racism Contact Officer (ARCO) who is trained in supporting the processes to address racism in schools. Reports may be made verbally or put in writing. The ARCO can support the person making the report to put the information in writing if necessary.

Reports of racism in other work areas across the department may be made verbally or in writing to any workplace manager.

There are different processes for addressing reports of racism, depending on who is making the report and what the report of racism is about. All reports and complaints of racism are best resolved at the local level wherever possible.

Who is the report about? Who is making the report? Who is the incident reported to? What happens after the report is made and who manages the resolution?



Any staff member or ARCO

The member of staff or ARCO decides on the most appropriate response using the school’s behaviour procedures and works with the student/s to resolve the matter.

The report and resolution is documented and if necessary, parents are informed.

Parent, carer or community member

Principal or ARCO

The ARCO explains the process and supports the parent, carer or community member to report their concerns to the principal.

The principal manages the report, documents it and communicates the resolution.

Staff experiencing racism

Supervisor, ARCO

The staff member’s supervisor manages the report, using the Anti-Racism Policy and Student Behaviour Policy and local procedures. It may be necessary to escalate the report to the senior executive in the school.

The ARCO supports the staff member making the report and the supervisor if required.

The supervisor documents the report and the resolution.



Another staff member

Parent /carer or community member

Another staff member, principal, ARCO

The ARCO or staff member explains the process and supports the person making the report in the process.

The ARCO or staff member must report any potential misconduct or wrongdoing by a departmental employee to the principal.

It is best practice that the principal uses the PES Reporter Guide (staff only) to ascertain if the issue is reported to PES, managed locally or managed through direct management action.

The principal documents the report and the resolution.

Parent, carer or community member


Staff member

Another parent, carer or community member

ARCO, any staff member or principal

The ARCO or staff member explains the process and supports the person making the report in the process.

The ARCO or staff member reports the incident to the principal who will manage the report.

The principal manages the report with reference to the School Community Charter.

If the parent, carer or community member raises concerns about how the issue is addressed, they can be advised to follow the School Community and Complaints Procedure.

The ARCO provides support for the person making the report and for the principal.

The principal documents the report and the resolution.

Sometimes, the process needs to be adjusted to the individual needs of families and communities. Engaging with Aboriginal Families – resolving complaints in schools (staff only) is a guide that provides practical tips for schools to use at every stage of the process when managing complaints and feedback from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

How does the ARCO help?

The ARCO facilitates the handling of reports of racism by:

  • providing advice on the process to students, staff and community members
  • managing reports of racism made by students against other students with reference to the Student Behaviour Policy and the school’s discipline and wellbeing procedures
  • providing impartial support to staff, students and community members who wish to report racism
  • supporting the person making the report of racism during the process
  • supporting the resolution of reports where students are the subject of the report
  • providing advice related to the impact of racism to the principal and/or nominated staff member managing the report.

The role of Professional and Ethical Standards (PES) in addressing reports of racism

Racism in our schools and workplaces should be reported to PES when the concerns relate to a staff member.

Staff should report concerns of racism to their principal or workplace manager. It is best practice for the principal/workplace manager to make the report to PES. They will use the PES Reporting Guide as the decision tool. It is appropriate for the principal/manager to be aware of the concerns regarding employees so that the issue can be managed and reported appropriately. Any staff member can make a report to PES, using the PES Reporter Guide (staff only).

PES will review the information and may make further inquiries before deciding how the issues should be addressed. Options may include referring the matter back to the principal or workplace manager to deal with directly, issuing a formal warning, or conducting an investigation into whether there has been misconduct. If there is a finding of misconduct, PES may take disciplinary action. Findings of racism would need to be made under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1974, which is administered by Anti-Discrimination NSW, or under the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975, which is administered by the Australian Human Rights Commission. There is no requirement for principals or managers to investigate and make findings relating to misconduct or racism by an employee.

Anyone can make a complaint about a PES decision or PES’ handling of allegations of misconduct. However, there is generally no right of review in relation to the action that may be taken to address a staff member’s conduct, including a decision whether or not to report to PES.

Staff should refer to PES Guidance on Misconduct (staff only) for further information about the process for addressing alleged misconduct, including racism.

For further information see:

Professional and Ethical Standards:

The role of the Student Parent Experience team in addressing reports of racism

Racism experienced by students and parents /carers can be reported online using a complaint form. The Student and Parent Experience (SPX) team will assess the complaint and decide who is best placed to manage it.

In most situations, a complaint will be referred to the relevant school, as the school is often best placed to find out what happened and address the issue. In some situations, a complaint may be provided to the Director Educational Leadership responsible for the school, so they can decide the best approach to manage the issue. ARCOs can provide advice and support the person managing the complaint.

Once you make a complaint of racism, a SPX team member will email a confirmation identifying who will be looking into the complaint and how to contact them.

Further information can be found at:

What if I am unhappy with the outcome?

The person making a complaint may request a review of the handling of their complaint if they can give reasons why the complaint outcome was incorrect or how the complaint handling process was unfair. When a complaint relates to a workplace issue between staff, the staff member who a complaint is about, may request a review of the handling of the concerns.

There is generally no right of review in relation to the action that a manager may take to address a staff member’s conduct.

For further information see:

More information is in the Complaints Handling Policy and related procedures. If you are unsure who to contact, you can use the online complaint form to report racism or lodge a complaint.


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