Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Don't ask me, Tompkins

Yesterday's Commons education select committee report on bullying was right to insist that schools take the problem seriously.

Most of the media coverage concentrated on the suggestion that children should be involved in suggesting suitable penalties for bullies in their own schools.

I wonder if I am alone in seeing this as a bit of a cop-out.

Yes, children are often capable of being more mature and sensible than we ordinarily allow them to be. Yes, they have to learn to take on adult responsibilities and this might be a good way of doing it.

But on the whole adults know better than children - if they didn't, there would be no point in sending children to school. So shouldn't it be adults who are making these decisions?

And isn't one of the reasons that bullying flourishes the unease that teachers and other adults feel about asserting authority? Encouraging them to slough off responsibility on to the children is not going to help matters.

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