Three former footballers visited a Newton Aycliffe school as part of the acclaimed Show Racism The Red Card initiative.
As part of Stephenson Way School’s cultural and emotional enrichment programme, the trio of ex-pros spoke to youngsters and held a mini football session.
Former Boro defender Dean Gordon, ex-Leicester and Coventry striker Trevor Benjamin and Richard Offiong, who played for Newcastle and Darlington, led group discussions with two Year 6 classes.
They made the children consider what it would be like to be the subject of a racist comment and the need to understand other people’s feelings.
The footballers revealed personal stories as part of the talk, which showed the children that even successful sports people can be the victims of abuse.
The children listened intently and asked some excellent questions as they were shown that racism can be much more than simply verbal abuse and can run much deeper.
The speakers played out scenarios where the children were asked to judge whether they considered racism to have occurred.
The Year 6 children clearly engaged with the footballers and could be heard thoughtfully discussing and considering the issues which arose in the lesson.
After the discussions, the footballers led the students in a footballing fitness session, to demonstrate both activities that can be used to keep fit to play football and methods for using football training to keep fit.
The children fully enjoyed the day and the footballers proved to be fantastic role models for the children.
The issues raised during the day made the children consider an important issue and taught them to be considerate of different races and cultures.
“Overall, the day was a huge success and we look forward to inviting the scheme back into school on a regular basis,” said a spokesman for the school.