Teachers should consider demanding the removal of a memorial to a slave trader from a Moray school, according to the nation’s largest teaching union.
The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has suggested its members might ask for the James Dick plaque to be taken down at Anderson’s Primary School, in Forres.
Alternatively, the union said local branches could request that the memorial be “used to explain the history of his involvement with the slavery”.
The proposals are among several made by the EIS in a strongly-worded intervention in the debate about the future of the £1.7 million Dick Bequest.
The bequest was established following the death in 1828 of Forres-born merchant James Dick, who left almost £120,000 for educational development in Aberdeenshire, Banff and Moray.
However, it emerged last month that two historians, David Alston and Donald Morrison, had found that Mr Dick made his fortune in the slave trade.
Mr Dick had a business partnership with Robert Milligan, whose statue was removed last year by the Museum of London from its plinth in London’s Docklands.
A bronze plaque to Mr Dick is understood to be located at Anderson’s Primary, which was formerly the Forres Academy building.
In a note to members, the EIS has now outlined several potential actions that “local associations are encouraged to consider”.
One is “supporting either the removal of the memorial to James Dick in Anderson’s Primary School, or for it to be used to explain the history of his involvement with the slavery”.
Another idea suggested was to “support the demand for the return of remaining funds within The Dick Bequest to Jamaica as reparations for Scotland’s complicity in the slave trade”.
The union also proposed “spreading awareness of the origins of the fund to members”, and “supporting full transparency of the fund’s origins in application procedures”.
The continued use of funds derived from the slave trade to benefit Scottish people perpetuates the long legacy of appropriation and exploitation of wealth from Africa and the Caribbean, and is a legacy that can be addressed only by strong anti-racist action.”
The memo said: “The EIS has a strong commitment to anti-racism and to decolonising of the curriculum.
“The continued use of funds derived from the slave trade to benefit Scottish people perpetuates the long legacy of appropriation and exploitation of wealth from Africa and the Caribbean, and is a legacy that can be addressed only by strong anti-racist action.”
We revealed earlier this week that Aberdeenshire Council would no longer support or facilitate applications to the Dick Bequest.
A spokeswoman for Moray Council said: “A briefing is being prepared for councillors to consider the options regarding the future of the council’s involvement in relation to The Dick Bequest.”