Saturday, February 28, 2009

Nipping Crime In The Bud

Capping off a week in which a 15 year old with a history of carrying a knife was arrested at school following threats to staff comes this warning of things to come:

OUT-OF-CONTROL four and five-year-olds are being suspended from Prep classes in a crackdown on school violence involving attacks on teachers. Education authorities say they have been forced to suspend the pint-sized problem pupils to protect teachers from being kicked, bitten and hit.
At the same time, a generation of children who have never had their egos curbed protest against an attempt to instill some little modicum of discipline:

STUDENTS at a Gold Coast high school are openly revolting against a new headmaster who is enforcing a dress code they say bans coloured bras. Elanora State High students used social networking site MySpace to organise a protest yesterday which was crushed by teachers. Hundreds of rowdy students massed on the school oval at morning tea but were herded back by visibly stressed and angry teachers... "He's banned coloured bras, piercings, dyed hair, and rat's tails (hairdos)," one said. "No one is happy about it. All the chicks wear make-up and everyone has piercings. It's way over the top and old-fashioned - that's why the protest was organised."
The school's P&C Association supports the principal's efforts to enforce the school dress code but some don't think there's any point in trying to shape children's behaviour:

Social commentator and The Courier-Mail columnist Dr Karen Brooks said the students were "just voicing their opinion". "They have the technology to be able to organise a protest like this and I don't think we can stop it."
Really? One supposes not; after all, 'they have the technology' so what's the use?

In Britain, they look nostaligically back upon some old technology:

One in five teachers believe the cane should be reintroduced in schools to restore order in the classroom. More than 20 years after corporal punishment was banned in state schools, many teachers said it was acceptable to hit children "in extreme cases". The majority of those backing the cane said it was needed to crackdown on bad behaviour in British schools.

It follows a Government-backed study last year which found many parents believed discipline had deteriorated since the cane was abolished... One supply teacher told researchers: "Children's behaviour is now absolutely outrageous in the majority of schools. I am a supply teacher, so I see very many schools and there are no sanctions. There are too many anger management people and their ilk who give children the idea that it is their right to flounce out of lessons for time out because they have problems with their temper. They should be caned instead."

And a primary teacher, said: "There is justification, or an argument, for bringing back corporal punishment, if only as a deterrent. I believe some children just don't respond to the current sanctions."
However, the pro-caners are soon put in their place by those who know better:

John Dunford, of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "Thankfully, corporal punishment is no longer on the agenda, except in the most uncivilised countries. I am sure that this barbaric punishment has disappeared forever."
Meanwhile, back in Queensland:

Opposition Leader Lawrence Springborg has promised an extra 1000 police across the state within three years under an LNP government... "Safer homes and safer streets is going to be a core priority of an LNP Government', he said.
They is, is they? Mr Springborg obviously needs to get back to school and not just to correct his English.

Here is a radical idea for law and order - bring back the cane and effective discipline in schools, backed by laws protecting teachers from being sued by parents who are as self-entitled as their offspring. Then order the State magistracy to make their sentencing recommendations reflect community expectations.

Curbing crime in its infancy - pun intended - is what is required as a long term solution, not 1000 extra police.

That's like whipping up extra nurses to apply bandaids without asking why so many people are getting cut in the first place.

-- Nick

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