Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, said: “I am deeply concerned at the racist abuse directed via social media towards children at a school in Glasgow and strongly condemn it. I have written to the school concerned to express my support and stand with the children, parents, teachers, school staff, and wider community who have been affected.
“All children have the right to live free from discrimination. No one should ever be abused because of their race or culture. Racist views have no place in our society.
“Children from the school had been showing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon what they had been learning about tackling climate change. Climate justice is a human rights issue and children sharing their views with the First Minister were acting as human rights defenders. Adults in power must take proactive steps to ensure that child human rights defenders are protected from reprisals. There are real reasons why children might be reluctant to be human rights defenders – like fear of bullying or of not being taken seriously by adults. Children must not be intimidated or shut out of discussions by the prospect of facing racist or other forms of abuse.
“The harm caused by online abuse cannot be overstated. Children have the right to protection from harm, wherever that may occur. Social media companies are failing in their responsibility to protect users from abuse. The UK Government has an opportunity, through the Online Safety Bill, to ensure that social media companies are fully accountable for failures to protect children from racist abuse.
“We have information on our website on where to find support if you are experiencing racism and information on what it means to be a child human rights defender.”