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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 09:07 GMT
Asylum seeker raids 'must stop'
Immigration officer
The issue of dawn raids on families has provokes anger
Scotland's largest teaching union has called for an end to dawn raids on failed asylum seekers.

The Educational Institute of Scotland said raids were "harrowing" for families and left children distressed when fellow pupils disappeared.

The union has also called for the closure of the Dungavel detention centre in South Lanarkshire.

Two specialist teams are being set up to deal with asylum applications after concerns were raised in Scotland.

Immigration is reserved to the UK Government and the Scottish Executive has no power to act in the matter.

It leaves terrible scars for pupils and teachers when these children suddenly 'disappear' overnight
Ronnie Smith
EIS general secretary

However, First Minister Jack McConnell is understood to be concerned about the impact on families and children and Scotland's Children's Commissioner Kathleen Marshall has accused the state of "terrorising" children.

A number of schools across Scotland have contacted the EIS concerned about the damage dawn raids do to pupils and the school community.

These include Shawlands Academy in Glasgow, where pupils told the head teacher a girl had been taken to Dungavel following a dawn raid.

'Humane treatment'

Students and teachers at Drumchapel High School in the city have also campaigned for improved rights for asylum seeker children, particularly when they are preparing for exams.

EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith said: "There has to be a better and a more humane way to treat these people.

"While we accept that some applicants for asylum will ultimately be unsuccessful and will eventually be required to leave the country, that does not justify mistreating them in such a terrifying way.

"It leaves terrible scars for pupils and teachers when these children suddenly 'disappear' overnight.

"The continued use of dawn raids and the detention of asylum seekers in Dungavel is a shame on our country, and we must continue to fight this policy until the government finally sees the light and begins to treat these people with dignity and respect."

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