Friday, 25 May 2007

The Best Days of Your Life

Schools are to be given their own police patrols under new plans unveiled by Gordon Brown to crack down on bullying and violence.


Mr Brown, who was accompanied by Labour chairman Hazel
Blears, announced plans for Community Police Units to regularly patrol schools at the request of headteachers who want more back-up to prevent and tackle discipline problems.
Presumably this is in light of the increasing number of attacks by pupils on teachers, a phenomenon that has today led the Professional Association of Teachers to call for teachers to be provided with body armour, when carrying out searches for hidden weapons. Of course, as I've written before, some pupils in London are already going into school wearing body armour, so great has been the breakdown of discipline.

Among the types of violence and thuggery on display in schools is racist violence, although education authorities claim that the fact that levels of reported racism in classrooms have reached a record high is due to "better reporting methods". Of course, all bullying and violence is to be decried, but one can't help but wonder how much of this violence is carried out by, and how much is carried out against, white children. The figures provided by local councils only report the total number of incidents, while Channel 4 implies that Muslims are being particularly targeted. Nonetheless, I wouldn't mind betting that racism in classrooms follows the pattern of racism in society at large, and is overwhelmingly directed against whites.

How should classroom thuggery be dealt with? Well, bringing back corporal punishment would be a good start. These thugs derive satisfaction from getting "respect". I imagine that hauling them up in front of the entire school and giving them a good thrashing would utterly humiliate them, and, in so doing, severely reduce the "respect" with which they are regarded by their peers. However, the government seems to have adopted the policy of bribing them to behave, with iPods among the benefits they can gain if they manage to hold off from stabbing one another. Now, the London Dungeon and its twin, the York Dungeon, are joining in, offering free visits to children who can prove that they are the proud holders of an ASBO. Helen Douglas of the York Dungeon justifies this on the basis that:
What we're handing out Asbos for today are exactly the same sort of crimes that people would have been transported or even hanged during the "bloody code" of the 18th Century.

While I'm by no means advocating a return to the punishments of old, I thought it might shock the Asbo offenders a little to see what would have happened to them a couple of hundred years ago.
Wishful thinking at best, and downright dishonesty at worst. I imagine that the reason behind the Dungeons' decision is an attempt to gain publicity, and increase the number of paying visitors. However, while I am not hugely into all these notions of "corporate social responsibility", etc, I can think of few things less responsible for a private corporation to do than to provide incentives for people to indulge in anti-social behaviour.

Your schooldays: the best days of your life, so long as you're a violent thug with no respect for authority.

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