Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Why aren't you in school, Mr Tompkins?

Red faces in Colchester last week:
A policing crackdown on truants hit a snag yesterday when it emerged many pupils were out of the classroom because of teacher-training days.

The "truancy sweep" across Colchester was a joint initiative between Essex Police and educational welfare officers from the county council.
All very amusing. But later on the East Anglian Daily Times report says:
Pc John Meacock and educational welfare officer Justine Musk headed to Tesco at Highwoods, where they spotted a number of youngsters with parents or grandparents.

But after a friendly word from Pc Meacock, it emerged they were all out with good reason - either teacher training or in one case a kidney infection.
The idea that you can be stopped by the police and asked to account for yourself simply because you are with your children has always seemed to me outrageous. It is something that would take place in totalitarian state. But we have become so used to the belief that the state cares more for our children than we do ourselves that it goes unremarked.

Found via Fair Deal Phil (cringe).

5 comments:

archrights said...

Quite honestly, the idea that it's reasonable to stop children who are going about their lawful business is pretty appalling. We published a report on the waste of money and goodwill that is truancy sweeps last year - if you're interested, it's accessible via: http://archrights.blogspot.com/2006/07/truancy-scam.html

leedssouthcentral said...

If people who allow their kids to miss school are not to be challenged, presumably you want all school to be voluntary. In some places it already is -parents always take their family holidays during term time to get lower flight prices, kids 'leave' for school, but either never arrive, or check out immediately after the morning register, and when the school phones the parents, they couldn't care less. No wonder so many schools lock their kids in.

archrights said...

Voluntary education? Absolutely. Though speaking personally, I home educated mine. Amongst the (many)advantages, they've grown up with open minds, competent sentence-construction and an aversion to sweeping generalisations.

astrid said...

I can't see the point of truancy sweeps in any case, but they are supposed to be "prepared". Challenging people to see if they've committed a misdemeanour is a reflection on the police state we're heading into. How would you like it, leedsouthcentral, if you were stopped simply because a pc wanted to ask if you've committed a crime today?
These kids hadn't done anythong wrong, neither had their parents...yet there is a distasteful presumption of guilt that you seem to find acceptable.
truancy has been going on since schools began, and looking at the numbers, it hasn't changed a whit since police started "cracking down"

see here for figures ...but I bet it's created an unnecessary climate of suspicion.
The idea that is a solution to "lock kids in" is not solving anyone's problem.

Anonymous said...

It is absoluely outrageous that they are stopping parents who are out with their children during school hours! That is direspectful to the parent's authority and judgement and assumes the worse of them: that they would take their child out during school hours for no reason!

The authorities should be focusing their time cracking down on the disturbing and trouble - making youth you see on the streets during school hours rather than harass and bully parents with children!!

And please don't forget that home education is a growing trend in the UK! Many parents, frustrated by the poor level or education and dictatorial control of the government, have pulled their children our of schoo and are now educating them at home! Are they expecting home educating families to be locked home?? Should they fear being approached and harassed by authorities??

It is all really digusting, outrageous and most of all: deepely disturbing!