School tearaways are to be offered mountain bikes and iPods in return for good behaviour.
In a government campaign against soaring indiscipline, teachers are being told to reward disruptive pupils with prizes and privileges.
Badly-behaved youngsters must be praised five times as often as they are punished or criticised under guidelines unveiled by Education Secretary Alan Johnson.
They can be offered prizes and privileges ranging from non-uniform days and extended breaktimes to CDs, cinema tickets, personal music players and state-of-the-art bicycles.
The scheme has been branded 'absurd'. Ministers were accused of 'going soft' on discipline and critics said the guidance would encourage pupils to expect prizes for good behaviour that should be considered the norm.
It puts me in mind of the response of the West to Yasser Arafat. As a reward for not murdering people - or rather, for pretending not to murder people - he got a Nobel Peace Prize. This is just the same principle, on a smaller scale.
Meanwhile the members of the National Union of Teachers have taken a step closer to strike action over bad behaviour:
Sue McMahon, secretary of the NUT's Calderdale branch in West Yorkshire, said: "My members this year have been bitten by a five-year-old, thumped by a six-year-old, kicked by a seven-year-old, spat on by an eight-year-old, punched by a nine-year-old, verbally abused by a ten-year-old, received malicious damage to her car by an 11-year-old, gobbed on by a 12-year-old, told where to go so many times by a 13-year-old that they nearly went there, head-butted by a 14-year-old and received a facial injury so bad by a 15-year-old that it required surgery.Sympathise though I do with these cases, it must be remembered that a great many teachers are liberal-leftists themselves. Had the teaching profession spent a bit more time over the last thirty years teaching children manners and decency, and a bit less time promoting "Black History Month" and encouraging children to become homosexual, they might not find themselves in this situation today.
As well as the rewards for good behaviour, the government advises that for every time a child is criticised or punished they should be praised five times, considering this to be "an indication of a school with an effective rewards and sanctions system". Conversely, teachers should avoid praising well behaved children (yes, there still are some!) too much, for fear that it might make the thugs feel left out.
As one of the commenters at the Daily Mail page asks: "Just what kind of future are we building for ourselves here?"