73% of vegan pupils ‘teased’ because of their beliefs, survey reveals


The survey also highlighted that fewer than 40% of vegan pupils feel welcomed and safe in their school.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of vegan pupils have been teased because of their beliefs, a new survey by Vegan Inclusive Education reveals.

The data also shows that 42% have been bullied for their vegan lifestyle.

While 72% of the 250 pupils surveyed said they had been teased by other pupils, 16% were ridiculed by teachers and 12% by other school staff.

The study conducted to capture the day-to-day experiences of vegans in schools revealed that fewer than 40% of vegan pupils feel welcomed and safe in their school.

With food being another important issue, the survey showed that 54% of the respondents on being asked about the food offering at their schools admitted they had no vegan meal options.

60% had to contend with narrow and repetitive options while 48% said they had no vegan dessert options on their school menus.

Vegan Inclusive Education

Despite the number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupling between 2014 and 2019, there is still a general lack of understanding of ethical veganism in UK schools.

This has led Vegan Inclusive Education to call for schools to address the issue and integrate veganism into the curriculum. It has also created a pack that details the steps schools can take to promote vegan inclusion. 

The organization said: “It’s time for this important area of inclusion and safeguarding to be addressed coherently in schools”.

‘Veganism is a valued belief’

Ruth Jenkins, programme co-ordinator and founder at Vegan Inclusive Education, said: “Educating about difference is a crucial cornerstone of inclusion. Only once pupils understand a belief can they value it.

“If veganism is not integrated into the curriculum or discussed as a valued belief then it is automatically placed outside the scope of beliefs that children are taught to respect. Then it’s not surprising that teasing and bullying can flourish.”

She added: “Teachers and pupils need to be clear that this is not an acceptable area for disrespect – just as schools have had to include those with different ethnicities, different abilities and different sexualities in their expanding circle of inclusion.”

According to Jenkins, “It is essential that schools invest in training and include an explanation in their policy documents that ethical veganism is a protected belief.”

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