an emotionally charged film about how sectarianism has affected the lives of ordinary Scots could be shown to every school pupil north of the Border.

Anti-sectarian campaign group Nil By Mouth has produced Sectarian Stories to raise awareness and understanding of the everyday impact of "Scotland's secret shame". It is now in talks with a major educational organisation to include the film in lessons.

Richard Benjamin, spokesman for Nil By Mouth, said more education was needed on the issue, as young people's understanding of sectarianism is "warped".

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He said: "We do workshops with 14 and 15-year-old school pupils who don't have even a basic knowledge of what being a Catholic or Protestant is.

"Some pupils think being a Catholic means you are a Celtic supporter or you come from Ireland. I have heard some pupils say they think Protestantism is something to do with being Jewish."

In Sectarian Stories, 12 people - five of whom are featured here - give accounts of how they have been the victim of bigotry. A DVD will be made available for schools and an online resource is also planned.

Benjamin said: "We want to set up a website and get teachers to design lesson plans that will incorporate the film and generate discussions and activities around it."

It is also hoped the website will include a forum for teachers and pupils to discuss how they felt about using the material.

Benjamin said he was "very confident" the project would be launched in time for the new school term. He said the film provides "substantial educational value" for pupils and teachers alike.

"This is a huge step forward in raising awareness and understanding," he added. "We need to find a way to communicate with young people and show them the human impact of sectarianism. We need to show people there are sectarian issues beyond the publicised, visible forms like football."

A Scottish government spokesman said: "If a local authority thought it was an appropriate resource for their schools then they can use it."

The film will be premiered on November 15 at the Scottish parliament and will be sent to MSPs and councils, and schools by request.

1: THE VICTIM OF VIOLENCE: FIREMAN John Cairney, 49, was the victim of a sectarian-motivated attack when he and his crew attended a fire in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, in December 2003. A gang of 15 young men shouted sectarian abuse as they threw bricks and fence posts at them, while others sang Irish Republican songs. When the case came to court, one of the perpetrators was sentenced to four years in prison.

Cairney recalled: "When we got to the fire, behind a school, we saw four plastic wheelie bins on fire. The flames were about 20ft high. There were some guys standing behind the bins and you could see they had a drink in them. They started shouting that we were arseholes and we weren't to put the fire out.

"One guy jumped up through the fire and swung a punch at me. He caught my cheekbone and cut his hand on the edge of my visor. He was trying to get at my radio. I threw him off and he fell down the embankment.

"Then I looked up. It was like a scene from the Alamo. Fifteen guys were at the top of the hill and they all started running down the path towards us. Then came a rain of bricks, boulders. Towards the end of the attack I could hear the sectarian language, but the other boys said they were shouting it all the way through.

"They were shouting things like, f*** the Queen's 11'. I heard them shout up the IRA', and then they'd shout F*** the Pope'. They don't know what it means, and the fact they were shouting Catholic and Protestant stuff shows they're clueless.

"I felt sorry for the guy who got a four-year sentence in prison. I'd say 99% of the guys there were from the housing estate, which was very middle-class and well-to-do. The only one that came from the council estate up the road got jail.

"None of the boys took solace in knowing he got the jail. Looking at him in the dock he looked like a wee boy, totally lost. The sheriff made an example of him, I think because of the media interest in the sectarian angle.

"Three of them were caught out of about 15 and the ringleader wasn't one of them - the police couldn't identify him."

Cairney added: "I love this job. I'm that wee boy who wanted to ride in the big red fire engine. As firefighters we used to be held in high esteem, but those days are gone and that saddens me."

2: THE SCHOOL PUPIL: Lauren Morris, 18, from Midlothian, attended St David's Roman Catholic School when it formed Scotland's first shared campus with a non-denominational secondary, Dalkeith High, in 2004. Morris believes the strict segregation of the two schools by teachers prevented any kind of integration between the pupils.

She says: "We shared a dinner hall and some of us had friends at Dalkeith High, but we weren't even allowed to go over and say hello to them or we'd get into trouble. I think teachers used the excuse that we'd fight to separate us, but they should have helped us all integrate and get along.

"The pupils wanted to integrate but the teachers wouldn't listen. It got to the point where you would sneak across the dinner hall to the other side just to talk to your Dalkeith High pals. Even in the playground, we'd take off our school jumpers and go across to their side of the playground. I wasn't scared of the teachers, I just wanted to talk to my friends.

"The teachers used to have walkie-talkies and if they saw a pupil in a different side of the playground they'd radio each other and take that pupil back to their own side.

"One time there was a Dalkeith pupil in front of me as we were walking along the corridor and a teacher stopped him and said where are you going?' He said he was going to his class, and this teacher said get back to your own side, you're not one of us, get back to your own school'. She'd never say you're not one of our pupils', it was always you're not one of us'.

"It was quite confusing for me because I was Protestant at a Catholic school and had been taught that being a Catholic meant you treat everyone as one. Even though you could tell no-one really cared if you were Catholic or Protestant, they'd still call us Fenians', and folk from our school would be shouting Proddies'.

"Having separate schools is part of the problem. I left in fourth year and by that time we were allowed to sit where we wanted in the dinner hall, but if you were in one another's playground there was still a lot of tension about that."

3: THE TARGET OF A HATE CAMPAIGN: Michelle Ashman, 38, is a mother of four. She lives on the outskirts of Glasgow where she and her family have been the victims of a sectarian hate campaign by a neighbour. Ashman says his taunts and intimidating behaviour have left her feeling guilty for having brought her children up as Roman Catholics.

"He has always looked at us as if we were scum of the Earth. He's shouted at the weans in the street, calling them Fenian bastards and Catholic scum. His back garden is called Blue Heaven and he wears T-shirts with No Surrender' on them, Union Jacks all over the place.

"This has been happening for the past 18 months since the other Catholic neighbours moved out and left me as a target.

"My son was 17 and wearing a green and white Lacoste tracksuit, and he followed him in his van and was pulling at his shirt, like he shouldn't be wearing it, just because of the colours.

"My son's 18 now and I ended up sending him to live at my mum's house. I knew he was going to react to this guy and get himself into trouble. All the abuse was starting to centre round him and I had to do something.

"He's got two other neighbours who support him and they have joined in with the persecution of my family. They sat in their gardens last summer and played The Sash. He's a real British Bulldog type, very intimidating. Last Hallowe'en he had a coffin in his front garden and a dummy in it dressed up in a Celtic strip.

"He's made malicious complaints to my work, my professional body, the police, and even the environmental health. We've been to mediation over this, but to me that's what you do when you want to talk about the height of your fence, not to talk about sectarian abuse.

"I think sectarianism is in the everyday lives of people. Even my ex-husband, who was a Protestant, wouldn't even take the kids out anywhere if they had their school uniforms on. I don't know why he was like that, maybe to avoid hassle, I don't know.

"I know one wee girl had a letter sent home to her mum and dad because she was singing King Billy's On The Wall at nursery school - that's what I'm living among. We are not equal, we're Catholics.

"I'm trying to teach my kids that this is the right way to do things, going through the police, being honest and open, because I believe I'll win in the end. But when will that come? When do I get my prize for doing things the right way?"

4: THE NURSE:MANDY Nicholls, 32, has been a nurse for seven years and a charge nurse for two at the Accident and Emergency Department of Monklands Hospital in Airdrie, Lanarkshire. Staff there dread finding their names on the rota on the day of a Celtic v Rangers match due to the increased violence and casualties Old Firm ties bring to hospital wards.

Nicholls says patients have refused to be treated by her because her uniform is blue. She says paramedics experience the same bigotry because they wear green uniforms. "We used to have orange chairs in here and they wouldn't sit down on them. They chairs are for Orange bastards,' they'd say, I'm no sitting on them'.

"When someone comes into the A&E we would usually see the sickest person first. That all goes out the window on an Old Firm day. With a lot of the assaults, it's the louder you are, the quicker we want you in, seen, and out. Sometimes I feel more like a bouncer than a nurse.

"People will assume they know who you are. They always look at your name badge to figure out if you're Catholic or Protestant. One of my best friends is a nurse, her name is Ann-Marie and she turns her ID card round so that no-one can see her name, it saves her any bother.

"I lie when they ask where are you from?' I tell them I'm from Stonehouse when I'm actually from Larkhall, which is very Protestant.

"You get violence and aggression training as a nurse and that teaches you to de-escalate the situation. In a culture of drink, drugs, violence and knives, and you have 20 fans versus one nurse, you can't de-escalate it.

"My friend told a police officer that she was getting a lot of verbal abuse, but he told her not to complain and that she was obviously in the wrong job. Now we have to take whatever people throw at us.

"If I called the police because someone in the street called me an Orange bastard they'd get lifted. If someone sang a sectarian song in a football stadium they'd be lifted too. But I'm here with no security and getting abused and they won't come because it's part of the job'. You learn not to go to the police and a lot of it is getting brushed under the carpet.

"On a normal weekend shift, you would expect to see, between midnight and 8am, maybe 20 to 30 casualties. On an Old Firm night that will double.

"We have to have extra staff too; two extra nurses and an auxiliary nurse because there's so much blood that needs mopped up; and a doctor too. That all costs a lot of money and it's coming straight out of the public purse."

5: THE FOOTBALL FAN: N eil Thomson, 58, is a Rangers supporter from Glasgow. He was a season ticket holder for 15 years before giving it up earlier this year because of bigoted behaviour from other supporters in the ground. He believes that docking points from clubs may be the only way to force sectarianism out of the football stands.

"One night I got a call from Rangers asking me why I hadn't renewed my season ticket. I told them there was a number of reasons, one being that I'd had enough of the atmosphere and behaviour of fans at the ground.

"I know they've done a lot to stop bigoted behaviour but there is a vocal minority in the stands which makes it a hostile environment. There are issues outside Ibrox too. The merchandising that's on sale. You'll frequently see flags with the Red Hand of Ulster and Union Jacks. What's that got to do with Rangers Football Club?

"I stopped going to Old Firm games because of all the nutters that seemed to turn up for those games. They glorify the IRA and everything else; it's so confrontational for people who just want to go and enjoy a game of football.

"I remember one game in particular, and it wasn't even an Old Firm game, it was Rangers v Hibs. I couldn't believe the bile that was coming out these guys' mouths. It was unbelievable and I couldn't understand how no-one would say anything to them, not even the stewards. Others in the stand seemed to be impressed by the blatant sectarian language that was coming out these guys. I ended up leaving after half-time.

"In 1989 Rangers signed a high-profile player, Mo Johnston, and that should have sent a message to those nutters. He was a great player, he gave the club 110% in every game, and he was Catholic.

"Sectarianism is part of the industry rather than being a cultural defect. Instead of letting the wee man on the corner sell sectarian merchandise, the police should pull them up.

"Fines on the clubs wouldn't work but docking points for singing sectarian songs or shouting stuff at Catholic players would be a bitter pill for the fans to swallow. But the fans need to take responsibility for it. It's the ultimate weapon for authorities to wield against the club, but it really should be stopped before it gets to that.

"I think we need more education. Let's send people to Kelvingrove because, when I was there, I saw a Tricolour and I learned what it really means. The green represents the Republic of Ireland, the gold colour is Northern Ireland, and the white represents peace between the two. That's how it should be. Wouldn't it be nice to see the Tricolour flying at the Celtic and the Rangers ends?"

... And there is no end in sight as Rangers fans call for action on Hun' slurs: RANGERS football fans are calling on Celtic to take urgent action against their supporters who use the word "Hun" on the terraces.

Historically, the term has been used to denote a Rangers supporter, but fans now consider it sectarian.

In a letter obtained by the Sunday Herald, Derek Howie, secretary of the Rangers Supporters Trust, has written on behalf of trust chairman Malcolm McNiven to Celtic to "intimate our concern regarding the current popular usage of the word Hun' amongst Celtic fans".

He goes on to accuse Celtic of condoning the use of the word: "It has been most disappointing that this season the term appears to be gaining more popularity among Celtic supporters. Not only that, but it appears its use is being condoned by Celtic FC and the various authorities that police our game."

Howie then points out that Rangers have "worked very hard to remove sectarian terms from a small section of our fans" including the word "Fenian".

"To help us in our aims of eradicating this disease from our national sport, we feel it would obviously be extremely helpful if the same principles were applied to other clubs. Unfortunately, this season particuarly, this doesn't appear to be the case."

He then goes on to site a number of occassions where the word "Hun" was used at football grounds. At the most recent Old Firm game, on October 20, a green banner was seen at the Celtic end with the words "Celtic 7 The Huns 1, League Cup Final 1957".

Howie writes: "While there may well be a fine line between banter (even offensive banter) and criminal behaviour, we feel the use of the word "Hun" certainly falls into the latter category."

Rangers Supporters Trust is now calling on Celtic FC investigate the banner and "take appropriate action against the perpetrators," and for fans to remove the H-word from songs.

Although Howie concedes that the word may not be literally sectarian, he says there is "no doubt Celtic fans use it in such a context".

Howie then goes on to say Celtic supporters had been heard singing "Go home ya Huns" towards Hearts fans, and that the same song was sung at Dundee fans in the CIS Cup.

He is also calling for the SPL and SFA in conjunction with UEFA to instruct match delegates to report songs with the word "Hun" in them and for Strathclyde Police to arrest anyone found using the word in a sectarian context.

Celtic confirmed they had received the letter, but would not comment publicly over the allegations.

Celtic spokesman Iain Jamieson said: "We will only be making a private response, and will make no further comment at this stage."

A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said: "It's not the case that if you use that word you will get arrested. The context the word is used in has to be looked at. If someone is being aggressive and shouting it, for example, then they would be arrested, but it would most likely be for breach of the peace."

The letter from the Rangers Supporters Trust was sent ahead of yesterday's Gers Pride conference at Ibrox, where fans discussed issues around sectarianism and racism.