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Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The times are a-changing.

When I was a child I had more freedoms to look forward to as I grew up. Some were freedoms my parents decided I was ready for, such as crossing the road to the park on my own, riding my bike on the road, going to the local shops, sometimes with a signed note from Mum or Dad asking for a packet or two of Embassy since I was some years off 16 - I doubt many shopkeepers would do that now for fear that it was a local Trading Standards op or even that someone would simply dob them in. For others I was automatically considered ready by the state, such as buying and using my own tobacco, having sex, driving, buying alcohol* and standing for Parliament (which doesn't come with the freedom to do all the rest simultaneously although the behaviour of some MPs may suggest it comes with the misapprehension that it does). It would be a pretty depressing state of affairs if the reality was that you're born free** and then grow up looking forward to your freedom being progressively infringed and eroded, wouldn't it? Nah, surely not... that's just ol' Angry Exile's deeply ingrained cynicism, right?

Wrong, because thanks to a revoltingly authoritarian head teacher there's one neighbourhood here where kids can look forward to losing the freedom of association when they start primary school.
Students at [Osbourne Primary School in Mount Martha] on the Mornington Peninsula have been banned from congregating in groups of more than three in a bid to stop gangs of children teasing and upsetting their classmates.


In the latest edition of the school's newsletter, principal Liz Klein wrote that the rule was introduced to stop "gangs of students wandering around the schoolyard teasing and upsetting others for their entertainment".

The newsletter states that students are not permitted to walk around the school in groups larger than three.
What a stroke of fucking genius! Why bother teaching children right from wrong? Why go to the trouble of actually dealing with teasing and bullying as it happens? No, far easier just to ban groups larger than an arbitrarily chosen number in the knowledge belief hope that the problem will just magically go away. Oh, for fuck's sake, where do I begin with this kind of utter fucktardary?

Well, for starters there's the point that some of the parents have made:
The controversial rule ... has been criticised by some parents for punishing the whole school rather than just those students doing the wrong thing.
Quite, and doing so is not simply unjust but fucking lazy, which would be the second point. I can't imagine how the principal can even begin to justify it unless she was to suggest that it's a valuable lesson about what to expect when they're older since governments at every level will take the same lazy route of punishing largely innocent groups of people, and incidentally taking a huge, diarrheic shit all over their liberties - which is the third point - in order to get at a small number of trouble makers. Could this be the idea?

Yeah, I doubt it too. So what does the principal - and am I just being a pedantic pom approaching middle aged fartihood or does anyone else prefer 'head teacher'? - have to say for herself?
Ms Klein told 3AW today that certain students had made a habit of walking around the school in a pack aggravating others.
Certain students, yet Liz's response is a measure targeting all students.
Despite being spoken to by teachers, the students had persisted with their behaviour.
Well stack me, who'd have fucking seen that coming? And now those self same little shits can congratulate themselves for continuing to make their fellow pupils' lives at school just that little bit more miserable than they need be, all thanks to Liz Klein and her policy of don't-know-what-to-do-now-so-punishment-for-all. Fucking hell, Liz, whose side are you actually on here? The poor bloody kids who were on the receiving end are now being bullied by you and the fucking school instead of, or more likely as well as, the original bullies.

Because that's the fourth and final problem, Liz. As well as being lazy, unjust, and authoritarian your policy is going to fail as soon as the bullies work out that they only need to split into pairs and target lone kids, which I suspect they might be able to do faster than you did. You're assuming that in a group of three bullying can no longer take place, and simple mathematics - do you teach that at Osbourne? - should be enough to work out that in such a group two children can still gang up on the third. Fucking hell, woman, that's more or less how democracies function. Another lesson, perhaps?

Yeah, right.

* Yes, I realise this means that they are not really freedoms as such, but I'm in a bit of a rush and a discussion on freedoms, liberties and negative and positive rights wasn't the point of this post.
** If you have now got Matt Munro singing in your heads, I have an idea how old you are.*** And if you think beauty surrounds you as well then I also have an idea that you may be on drugs. Or just bloody lucky.
*** If you also have a cat it knows. Trust me, it just does. And its contempt for you has just doubled.
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