Monday, July 04, 2005

Father, 31, dies after yob attack

I hate these stories. I have two teenage daughters. I have met - and been impressed by - lots of their friends. The other day I was at their school, listening to one intelligent, polite and articulate girl after another ask questions about A level courses and life in the sixth form. There is nothing wrong with our youth. Nothing at all. We have every reason to be proud of most of them.

Of course, every generation has "yobs"; unruly, criminally-inclined youths. I don't believe this generation has more than any that came before. Formerly they were contained and made firmly aware of their relative insignificance. Today's State schools, however, are run for that thuggish minority. They set the agenda and dominate school life. That's why my wife and many other qualified teachers of her acquaintance would not return to the classroom for any price. That is why the turnover of state school teachers is so high - why so much money has to be wasted training people who stay in the profession for only a few years. They know they can be verbally, even physically, abused without any effective action being taken.

My nephew, in his first year at school, was recently told by a friend in his class "...the teachers can't do anything if you are naughty, you know...". If a five year old thinks that, is it surprising that things go from bad to worse as pupils watch the unruly few dominate? Is it surprising that some wild youths whose behaviour goes unchallenged in schools should sink to the depths reported here? Is it surprising that those unchecked feral few should emerge from school unfit for decent society?

A young man working in his first job, when criticised by his boss for poor work, was overheard by a relative of mine recently to reply "Who the **** do you think you are?" That young man is unlikely to remain long in gainful employment. Modern education may have built his self-esteem wonderfully (and entirely out of proportion to his merits) but it has otherwise done him no favours.

Head teachers need the power, exercisable in their sole discretion, to expel any child who falls short of the standards of civilised conduct. If that means a child misses out on education, so be it. That is his or her parents' problem. The majority of decent pupils should not miss out on their education because of a few louts. Nor should society suffer because of stupid 1960's educational theories.

the Mail online | Mail - news, sport, showbiz, health and more | Father, 31, dies after yob attack

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