Vengeance is Ours, Sayeth the School Board?
Everyone should read newspapers from out of their area. Be it from another province, state, district or country. I try to read the Guardian Unlimited online from time to time and today I am glad I did. The Guardian had a story on students who make false accusations against their teachers and students who use the cell phones to catch their teachers in bad moments. As a someone contemplating moving into secondary education (Grades 11 and 12) I have had concerns over both issues.
Here in British Columbia, (and the rest of Canada) I have heard little on the debate other than a few news items. I doubt that there is much political will to tackle the issue. It seems that bodies within the United Kingdom are a little more anxious to take action. A Teachers Union in Belfast is calling to have students who bring false accusations against their teachers banned from schools and for parents of these students held liable for costs incurred over the course of the investigation. Draconian? Yes, but it its is a place to start.
False accusations can stick with you for the rest of your life. Sometimes an acquittal of abuse charges is less black and white "guilty" or "not guilty" and can be as damning as the Scottish Verdict of "not proven". Students need to be held accountable for their behaviour and need to account when they have stepped over the line. Sometimes children are not products of their environments - good chickens can lay bad eggs and vice versa - but most often times it could be safe to say they are. Parents need to be held accountable for their childrens' missteps, at least to acknowledge a responsibility to help fix the problem.
Perhaps the Belfast union's demands are too severe, but it is a good starting place to find a middle course that satisfies everyone. As for students with cell phones... we didn't need them in my day, they don't need them now. Students use camera phones to bully their peers and to harass their teachers. It is time to do something to protect peoples' rights in the places where they go to work and study. I have been wondering when a film of someone goading me at work will pop up on You Tube.