The story in today's press about cross country runs being physical abuse and against human rights brings to mind a conversation I had with a youth worker recently.
We were talking about how teachers spot signs of abuse or trouble at home. We agreed that non-verbal signs were as important as verbal ones - you don't need a kid to tell you about the problems to know that something is going on. For example, a teacher may see signs of self-harm when a pupil is wearing short sleeve shirts or the like (normally in such cases the child wants you to see). When I was at school there were always staff in the PE changing rooms, but not so any more. The Youth Worker told me that this was a good thing as there were paedophile threats "all the time" (his words). Whilst acknowledging such threats do exist I really think the danger is overblown. Without staff present the changing rooms become a deeply threatening environment for some pupils and many children live with them as being a den of bullying. The changing rooms are second only to public transport, in my opinion, as bullying zones. Because of a national sense of paranoia over paedophilia we are allowing thousands of pupils to dread PE every week.
That Youth Worker was happy to see those pupils suffer in the changing rooms in order to prevent a percieved threat, I don't think so.