A Dereham high school has signed up to countywide scheme to raise awareness and tackle hate crime.

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The recently relaunched Hate Free Norfolk campaign aims to stamp out hate crime across the county by arming people with information about what it is and the serious impact this prejudice-related crime can have on people’s lives, as well as encouraging reporting.

Hate crime can be committed against a person or a property, and stems from prejudice towards the victim’s disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender identity or age.

According to Norfolk police, about 1,000 hate crime reports are received a year - although this figure is believed not to reflect the full picture.

In a bid to get more organisations, groups and individuals to sign up to the Hate Free Norfolk pledge, a series of events will be held from Monday.

Neatherd High School in Dereham has signed up to the pledge, sending out the message that hate will not be tolerated at the school.

As part of its pledge, the school has committed itself to always challenge racist, sexist, homophobic behaviour, continue with its LGBT History Month work, do some work around the domestic violence and teen relationship posters it has on display and to put up a “we welcome all people” sign in its reception.

Nick O’Brien, who is head of KS3 at the Norwich Road school, said: “We already do a lot of work within school and by signing the pledge, it makes it clear that the school is against any form of phobia whether its homophobia, sexism or racism.

“At the moment, we are doing a big poster campaign to raise awareness of and tackle abusive teen relationships.”

Neatherd High School’s pledge comes in the same week Mr O’Brien helped launch a new lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Norwich City Football Club supporters’ group, Proud Canaries.

The group was launched at Carrow Road at half-time in Sunday’s win against Tottenham.

Other schools which have signed the Hate Free Norfolk pledge include Mileham Primary School.

To sign the pledge, go to www.hatefreenorfolk.com.

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