A new merged school in Dundee East could exacerbate tensions between pupils if separate communities are not brought together first, a former councillor has warned.
On Monday, councillors will discuss the proposed closure of Braeview Academy and Craigie High School to allow for the creation of one “super-school” serving the pupils of both.
Allan Petrie, a former councillor for the Linlathen area, said mergers in the catchment areas in the past had resulted in unaddressed bullying over many years.
He said the first step before merging schools in Dundee East should be targeted efforts to ease tensions.
He said: “These areas have had big issues over a long period of time.
“There are well-known and long-running tensions between youngsters living in Fintry, Linlathen, Mill O’Mains, Whitfield and Craigie.
“Myself and some other councillors tried to bridge this gap in the past.
“We organised football tournaments in the summer months so children from the areas could get to know each other.
“It wasn’t sustainable though because we didn’t get any help from the administration at the time. I felt we repeatedly hit a brick wall.
“Many of these areas have separate community groups so they don’t work together as much as they perhaps should.”
He added: “What I’m hearing from some parents and pupils is that they fear a new merged school would exacerbate bullying.
“It’s already a major issue at Braeview Academy and Craigie High.”
An informal consultation on the possibility of merging the schools was carried out last year with the majority of parents who responded saying they wished to retain separate schools.
The proposed site for the new £60 million building is at the former St Saviour’s High, just south of Drumgeith Road.
Braeview was hit by a huge fire in 2018, meaning some current students are being taught in portable cabins, while Craigie High has become rundown in parts since opening in 1970.
Both are graded C for building quality.
Paul Clancy, the city council’s executive director of children and families services, will present his report to the committee on Monday.
He said the new super campus would “greatly enhance” the educational experience of local young people and their families, many of whom he said experience “significant poverty and deprivation”.
Council leader John Alexander has previously said the two school buildings are currently “not where we want them to be” in terms of quality.
He added “the only way” the council can get them up to the required standard is through a new merged school.
Councillors will vote on whether to carry out a formal public consultation on the plans. If agreed, it will begin on February 10 and will run until the end of March.