Monday, August 07, 2006

Safety First?

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.


Anonymous said...

I quite, quite agree... Changing rooms were a place of violence in my, relatively quiet, school.

Anonymous said...

You're a brave man making statements against the grain on the issue of paedophilia. But well done you are absolutely spot on. The sad thing is that because of paranoia about a real but small threat we are exposing our children to a a very real threat, which, for some reason is considered OK. Let's have people coming out and agreeing with you.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it wonderful how people automatically assume that those who want to work with children have paedophilic tendancies? Heaven forbid they actually just might want to teach them something.