Author Topic: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)  (Read 1075 times)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #30 on: 20 Oct 2021 09:14PM »
Yes, there is a way for both of us to feel safe.  Flexibility.  Creativity.  We have vast numbers of hospitals and clinics round the country.  Some can be reserved for those that need people of a particular sex & gender to help them.  I don't personally see your need for a female chaperone and for female clinicians as different from someone needing an interpreter or wheelchair access.  No, seriously.  As disabled people, we're used to people seeing as unreasonable demands things that are actually manageable and practical.

Also, with modern technology, there's much more that could be done if anyone gave a wotsit to make us all feel safer with panic buttons, CCTV (in appropriate locations) etc.

And if they didn't expect us all to want or need the same, they could make far better use of space and resources available.  Triage people into those needing single sex clinical environment and those ok with mixed. 

Analogy.  I was in an army camp and we found the females had no working showers.  I said I was off to use the men's showers.  Others followed.  I went into the entrance area.  There were two corridors of showers.  I shouted we'd be coming in in 20 min.  I said which corridor.  After 20 min, we went in.  The men in that corridor were fine with it, and so were we. The men that wanted single sex had single sex.  If any of the women had wanted single sex, we'd have said instead that in 20 min, the one corridor would become women only.  The men would have been fine with that.

I remember being overseas in a rather hot country. Someone brought a shower in the form of a truck with jerry cans with holes in attached to water pipes.  We all looked at one another, and I stripped off and walked under a jerry can.  Others, male and female, followed.  But if anyone, either male or female, had felt uncomfortable, we'd all have rallied round and made arrangements.  We had ponchos we used as groundsheets plus bungees that enabled us to make shelters with them depending on circumstances. They'd have made adequate shower curtains.

Society can do that if we have the will.  If a hospital acknowledges that there are both people that want single sex and people that are ok with mixed sex, then they can more readily deploy their staff accordingly.  Have dedicated single sex teams and wards/clinics; but with mixed wards/clinics as well, it doesn't matter if there's an imbalance between staff and patient numbers. 

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Fiz

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #31 on: 21 Oct 2021 02:50AM »
That assumes both the assertiveness and being mentally well enough to state your needs and the willingness of others to cooperate.


During a disability swim session which I chose to go to because the public swim sessions are too busy/noisy for me to cope with, I was groped by a man with learning difficulties who had a 1-1 carer in the pool with him. It terrified me. I wrote to the recreation centre manager and asked if one of the three weekly disable swim sessions be female only and he said no that would be discriminatery. I've not been swimming in a public pool since..


I think I will agree to disagree on the possibility of feeling safe because real life as I encounter it in reality isn't flexible.

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?!
« Reply #32 on: 21 Oct 2021 06:17PM »
Sunny, I never considered that there might be people who actively prefer mixed-sex environments, so you had me thinking there...


Fiz, that pool episode and its outcome is truly disgraceful - if anyone should have been excluded from those swimming sessions, I would suggest that man and his apparent carer (why wasn't the carer paying more attention?)


I'm no expert on learning disabilities but I would have thought the capacity to know right from wrong was present in most.  Though this could raise another debate - disability an excuse for bad behaviour???



Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #33 on: 21 Oct 2021 10:32PM »
As a youngster, I applied to Oxford University.  The college I applied to wasn't interested, but another college that I hadn't applied to invited me for interview and then said they'd like to offer me a place.  I paused, looked around me, and apologetically said no.  I said if they'd been a mixed college, I'd have said yes, but as an all-female college, it was too much like school.

I went to a girls school with a partner boys school.  Mixed classes and activities felt so much safer and when in the sixth form I was allowed to sit in the boys' prefects' room (I was a prefect at the girls school) I felt more relaxed.  I also liked going to the joint prayer group.

It wasn't the boys on mixed school buses grabbing my satchel and throwing it off the bus.  It wasn't the boys climbing over the top of the lavatory cubicles to get at me to beat me up.  It wasn't teachers at the boys school being nasty and blaming me when I got bullied.  It wasn't the boys stealing my school exercise books, rubbing out the teachers' pencil marks and substituting lower grades in ink, e.g. teacher pencils in A, girls rub out and ink in E. 

And it was my male child psychiatrist who gave me the foundations of feminism.  No, really.  He was the one that gave me the sense that I could do things others thought I couldn't.   I was ahead of my era in what I did in martial arts.  Some of the things I did with the army, a lot of people still don't think women do.  Years later, it was a female psychiatric nurse who did the worst to undermine me, although male mental health professionals also damaged me.

But that doesn't mean I don't see a need for single-sex contexts.  When leading local community action years ago, I organised events for lots of different women to come and say what they wanted, not what men said women wanted, and not what other women (including me) who had different things we wanted might otherwise assume all women wanted.  So I understand and accept that lots of women, for a variety of reasons, feel more comfortable in a women's environment, whether that's a safety issue, or a matter of what they're used to or other reasons.  That's no different from women wanting separate seating in their synagogue, chapel, mosque etc.

I think that for a lot of people, a woman often feeling safer in a mixed environment doesn't compute.  I've just been hurt too many times by other girls, other women.  That doesn't make me not accept that there are women that only usually feel safe in a women-only environment and consider it important to find ways to accommodate their needs.

Personally, therefore, my instinct is wherever possible to look for solutions that are about practicality and choice.  E.g. a local community centre.  Two women's loos accessed by shared main door.  Go through door, zigzag tiny corridor.  Go through another door.  Go past basins, mirrors etc.  Two tiny cubicles.

If they changed the layout to cut out the zigzag entrance and shared handwash etc., they could have two cubicles, over twice the floor space each, each with its own wash basin its own lockable door leading onto the main corridor.  I know a supermarket that's done that.  It's brilliant.  By cutting out those shared handwash spaces and extra doors & corridors, it's got a couple of generously sized rooms.  No need to argue if they're male or female.  One's got a changing table as well.  And somewhere off the floor you can put your bags so they don't get soggy.  (Guess what, men, whilst we women slag you off for missing and wetting the floor, there's plenty of women's loos with puddles round them.)  Extra bonus - they're now large enough for two people if someone wants/needs an escort, carer or parent.  You don't have to queue for the disabled loo any more, wetting yourself whilst non-disabled people squeeze into their tiny cubicles.

That doesn't mean nothing single-sex shared, just exploring how we can, wherever possible, make things win-win.

But I think I'm in the minority with a win-win approach on this.  That doesn't suit politicians or tabloids.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #34 on: 22 Oct 2021 02:32PM »
Which brings me back full circle to education.  Adapting for different needs, accepting that we're not all alike and that pushing someone to be good at something that either they're never going to be good at or that it will cause them mental or emotional damage to try to be good at is wasting human resources.

There is a child who lives not far from me who is on the autistic spectrum.  Leaving aside technicalities, what I, as someone living not very far away, observe is that he doesn't feel comfortable with what I'll call social interaction, but he can suddenly open up if he thinks there's something he knows stuff about that the other person, which could be a grown-up, doesn't.  I gather from others that he's dead good with computers. 

Fortunately, he goes to the sort of school that accepts difference and focusses on what pupils can do or can't do, but that's been severely damaged in our education system, or at least in England it has (I'm aware there are differences in the devolved parts of the UK, but not knowledgeable about them).  Academies trying to meet targets and offrolling.  Aargh.

If I want someone to look after my garden, do I want someone with good grades in maths and English or whatever, or do I want someone who knows which plants like it where and how to nurture them?  I know where my priorities lie.  And if they can't read the catalogue in the nursery, does the trader really care most about that or do they care how many plants they'll sell them? 

I was, I believe, horribly damaged by many of my educational experiences, yet other experiences I had were uplifting.  Hence my strong views on education.

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

On the edge

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #35 on: 27 Oct 2021 10:43AM »
Which brings me back full circle to education.  Adapting for different needs, accepting that we're not all alike and that pushing someone to be good at something that either they're never going to be good at or that it will cause them mental or emotional damage to try to be good at is wasting human resources.

There is a child who lives not far from me who is on the autistic spectrum.  Leaving aside technicalities, what I, as someone living not very far away, observe is that he doesn't feel comfortable with what I'll call social interaction, but he can suddenly open up if he thinks there's something he knows stuff about that the other person, which could be a grown-up, doesn't.  I gather from others that he's dead good with computers. 

Fortunately, he goes to the sort of school that accepts difference and focusses on what pupils can do or can't do, but that's been severely damaged in our education system, or at least in England it has (I'm aware there are differences in the devolved parts of the UK, but not knowledgeable about them).  Academies trying to meet targets and offrolling.  Aargh.

If I want someone to look after my garden, do I want someone with good grades in maths and English or whatever, or do I want someone who knows which plants like it where and how to nurture them?  I know where my priorities lie.  And if they can't read the catalogue in the nursery, does the trader really care most about that or do they care how many plants they'll sell them? 

I was, I believe, horribly damaged by many of my educational experiences, yet other experiences I had were uplifting.  Hence my strong views on education.


I think gender-based schooling has its points, Girls did better in a girls school and so did boys in a boys school mostly, co-ed schools today seem riddled with far too many issues and interferences today.  I went to a boys-only school, it had zero effect on relationships with girls outside it lol.  It is all rot to suggest co-education helps that better, improves equality/respect etc, clearly reading any media today it doesn't at all, and is far riskier.


Hence why a 60% increase of parents opting for home tuition instead, UK education is failing.  At colleges and Universities, females are scared to go out anywhere. Ample proof co-education needs a re-think.    Now we have to run 'courses' to recognise people are different and to include them more, most doomed to failure when the funding runs out of course.


I am glad my child is now out of all that.  He has autism, did mainstream and special schooling. One anomaly I found, was that sex education was never taught in special or mainstream schools to autistics.  At least not here. 'The less they know, the less issues they can present..' was what I was old!  Do they think autistics don't have feelings like that or what?




Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #36 on: 27 Oct 2021 03:34PM »
I stand by what I've said on here recently about the damage done to me by the girls school I attended and how much more decently I was treated when attending a boys school for some subjects, e.g. Biblical Greek, and how much safer I felt there.

The viciousness of some of the girls and some of the teachers was appalling.  I was never attacked, intimidated or bullied by boys.  Which, of course, isn't to say that I think girls don't experience that behaviour by boys, because clearly they do, I simply say that that wasn't my experience and that I never witnessed it when I was a youngster.  What I did experience and witness again and again was girls protected by boys and boys protected by girls.

If you think girls are not at risk in all-female environments, then all you're observing is that most girls and women that have been assaulted in them don't speak out about it.  There is more shame for a girl or woman in speaking up about being sexually assaulted or beaten up by other girls or women, than there is for a girl or woman speaking up about being sexually assaulted or beaten up by boys or men.

I will always feel safer in mixed environments, because when you say girls or women have sexually assaulted you, people don't believe you, and people don't stand up for you.
« Last Edit: 27 Oct 2021 05:49PM by Sunny Clouds »
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

KizzyKazaer

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #37 on: 27 Oct 2021 06:00PM »
Quote
I stand by what I've said on here recently about the damage done to me by the girls school I attended and how much more decently I was treated when attending a boys school for some subjects, e.g. Biblical Greek, and how much safer I felt there.

I can well believe that having experienced bullying myself at a girls grammar school (I took the '11-plus' in the last year it existed, if I recall correctly - 1977).   Girl bullies seem exceptionally skilled at the psychological torment stuff like exclusion from 'in' groups and persistent references to appearance etc.   And oh how I hated team sports, being pointedly picked last all the time and with great reluctance by the others - 'Oh, we're not going to be stuck with **** again are we?' with a collective groan of contempt.  Nice.


As far as I'm concerned, if someone acts like a total a-hole, it doesn't matter what their gender is.  And I think personally that mixed-gender schools are better, from a 'socialising' point of view if not an educational one, as youngsters need to learn how to deal with both boys and girls!

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #38 on: 27 Oct 2021 06:38PM »
Yes, the learning aspect is really important.

My pet hate about bullying was that I was just told the old-fashioned "Ignore them, they'll go away" which works if everyone ignores an attention-seeking bully, but is totally useless against can't you take a joke bullies.  When you're on the wrong end of a can't you take a joke bully, you're on a hiding to nothing if no one's taught you to deal with it.

If you don't respond, the mud sticks.  If you do respond and they use a variation on "Can't you take a joke?" then not only does the mud stick, but you've additionally been seen as 'touchy', 'sensitive' etc.

And those not picked on tell themselves they're not being picked on because they're ignoring the bully, (until the bully turns on them) so it's a type of bullying that's about victim-blaming.

Boys can do it but it's a skill some girls are brilliant at.  I got on the wrong end of it in the workplace and in one job it took a long time before I worked out what to do and to confront the worst culprit. 

As for team games, aargh, I was such a slow runner.  But later in the Territorials, to my amazement, that was a plus.  Three different units used me to pace the men.  Plod, plod, plod.  5 miles, 10 miles, 15 miles, 20 miles.  Stop them racing off and crashing.

If only my local mental health services hadn't been full of nasty bullies, which resulted in a lot of their colleagues going off sick, victims of the bullying like their patients.  Better anti-bullying skills and I'd probably still have a career.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #39 on: 27 Oct 2021 08:34PM »
Our personal life experiences leave us with such different views on these things, don't they?

I do think I remain very obstinate about my sense that the best sort of education is a cluster of schools/units/houses on one campus, rather like different university colleges, with the potential for a mixture of mixed activities and activities specific to a particular unit.

There are probably pitfalls to it I don't see.  Maybe the whole issue of who'd fund it, who'd run it, whose interests would it serve etc.

My parents were so proud of me for getting a scholarship to what we used to call a 'decent' school, but even when sitting the exam, I knew I didn't want to go there.  Why did I lack the savvy to deliberately fail?  Aargh.
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ditchdwellers

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #40 on: 29 Oct 2021 09:30AM »
I went to a co ed comprehensive school and had terrible problems making close  friendships with girls. Most of them were horrible to me as I wasn't a girly type girl. I had one girl friend who was also a bit 'different ' and the rest of my good friends were boys.


I still have a couple of close male friends, just as my husband has a couple of close female friends. We both experienced bullying at school and felt like outsiders.


Strangely, my teenage niece also has more close platonic male friends than female and she has also been the victim of bullying.




On the edge

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #41 on: 29 Oct 2021 11:19AM »
Quote
I stand by what I've said on here recently about the damage done to me by the girls school I attended and how much more decently I was treated when attending a boys school for some subjects, e.g. Biblical Greek, and how much safer I felt there.

I can well believe that having experienced bullying myself at a girls grammar school (I took the '11-plus' in the last year it existed, if I recall correctly - 1977).   Girl bullies seem exceptionally skilled at the psychological torment stuff like exclusion from 'in' groups and persistent references to appearance etc.   And oh how I hated team sports, being pointedly picked last all the time and with great reluctance by the others - 'Oh, we're not going to be stuck with **** again are we?' with a collective groan of contempt.  Nice.


As far as I'm concerned, if someone acts like a total a-hole, it doesn't matter what their gender is.  And I think personally that mixed-gender schools are better, from a 'socialising' point of view if not an educational one, as youngsters need to learn how to deal with both boys and girls!


To suggest because I went to a boy's school so would be less aware of getting on with girls etc is stretching credibility a bit! We only go to school a few hours a day. after all. Actually, I was less inclined to take girls for granted after and respect was all anyway.  My parents made sure of that!  Of course, today's schools are rubbish and the pressures males and females are under today is horrendous.  Technology and lax attitudes are rife and discipline a town in Nova Scotia, but...


Reading recent news co-ed further education seems a real danger to females.  Of course, being ancient as I am (!) I really don't know why schools and uni's and colleges don't ban technology on the campus or why nightclubs just don't search idiots and make more effort to prevent attacks on women.  I still think in educational terms single-sex education was more academically successful, and I DON'T see co-ed as making girls lives safer or them being treated equally either.  Teaching children about sex or relationships cannot be done in a classroom.


Schools look positively a dangerous place for them to be.  That is me looking at it from a past perspective, which I expect will mean I'm out of it, (Whatever it is supposed to be).  We are back to current debates, that parents aren't doing their job, especially with boys.  Being contentional, clothes are a risk too, I fully appreciate women have the right to wear whatever they want to wear, but to a teenage lad, whose brain doesn't exist above the waist,  the more flesh they see exposed is an invitation.


You can see quite young girls of 6 trying to be sexual too, I'd be scared stiff if I had a daughter. 


I'm hoping this is read in context and NOT any justification.
« Last Edit: 29 Oct 2021 12:06PM by On the edge »

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #42 on: 29 Oct 2021 03:26PM »
It frightens me in the world we're now living in that there's such an emphasis on the threat posed to girls and women by boys and men that the threat posed by girls and women is swept under the carpet.  To me, tackling safety is about making sure everyone is safe.  Most provisions that will make girls and women safer from men are ones that can be implemented in a way that keeps everyone safer. 

As for what boys and girls wear, schools don't have to stick to the same uniforms as they did.  I remember a local campaign when I was a youngster to allow boys at secondary schools to wear trousers in our town.  The parents won.  I remember, though, how often my mother pointed out that no one had changed the rule for girls, so they still had to have cold knees in winter.

On the other hand, near where I live now there's a co-ed school where boys and girls both have a choice between a range of clothes.  They can wear shorts, trousers or skirts.  Full-length skirts are permitted.  I've seen girls in knee-length skirts with leggings.  There aren't outfits dedicated 'boys' or 'girls'.  The school shorts are knee-length.

So schools don't have to allow girls (or boys) to wear clingy clothes. 

As for learning about sex and relationships, I thought that was what buses, parks, and alleys up the back of shops were for.  Seriously, though, you can teach a lot about relationships in the classroom without teaching it as 'relationships'.  E.g. teach about various societal norms and manners, teach about treating others with respect. Give pupils credit for helping others etc.

Of course, in England at least, that goes against the long tradition of encouraging bullying.  (Yes, I do mean encouraging, though I'm prepared to believe that a small proportion of head teachers don't realise it.)

As for banning technology on campus, some schools do require pupils to hand in smartphones on arrival at school and collect them at the end of the day.  Others simply have a switched-off rule.  I think schools that previously had signal-barring devices are less likely to use them now, though, because of the rise in use of computers in the classroom for teaching purposes. 

The funny thing is, though, that if you want to make young people safer, banning from a whole campus devices that would enable the person carrying them to summon help at the press of a couple of buttons seems a bit counter-productive.

That being said, when I was an undergraduate, panic alarms were distributed at freshers' fair and freely available elsewhere (to male and female students alike) and were quite effective if you were within earshot of others who could help.  But a phone lets you have a quick 999 call as well.

I think what helps pupils of all sorts to thrive best at school is a sense of acceptance and a school that focuses where possible on helping every pupil to feel good about their strengths and to develop a feel for how they might use them in life, whilst enabling them, where possible, to have a range of basic skills our society generally expects of people.

I think schools vary massively in that. 

But then I could go all ranty here about the politics of education and that could easily set us all off.  I daresay politicians, campaigners and the rest of us will continue to clash over issues like who should fund what, who should run what, who should profit from what etc.  I.e. the whole range of state vs private vs mixed state & private etc.

I'm sort of hopeful, though, that most (all?) of you here would agree with me that at present this country's education is beset with problems that include a range of targets, contracts, interests etc. that leave our system failing to cater adequately for many pupils, including those with a range of disabilities.

To me what sums that up is where I came across a teacher going public with the reality that for SATs at age 7, she had pupils who could recognise a prefronted adverbial clause without understanding what the sentence was about.
« Last Edit: 29 Oct 2021 05:24PM by Sunny Clouds »
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunny Clouds

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #43 on: 29 Oct 2021 06:45PM »
I find it really interesting seeing different perspectives on this.

I'd seen separate boys & girls schools as an argument for, bluntly, charging more fees for boys' private schools, since in my day they came higher up the exam rankings; and I'd seen it as an argument for appropriateness in boarding schools and religious schools.  I hadn't seen it as being an argument for protecting girls.

I think at some point I'm going to rummage around on what statistics I can find for assaults on females by males in school and out of it.

It prompts many questions about how education should and could be improved.

(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

On the edge

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Re: Does Starmer mean what he says?! (plus debate on inclusion)
« Reply #44 on: 01 Nov 2021 10:32AM »
I find it really interesting seeing different perspectives on this.

I'd seen separate boys & girls schools as an argument for, bluntly, charging more fees for boys' private schools, since in my day they came higher up the exam rankings; and I'd seen it as an argument for appropriateness in boarding schools and religious schools.  I hadn't seen it as being an argument for protecting girls.

I think at some point I'm going to rummage around on what statistics I can find for assaults on females by males in school and out of it.

It prompts many questions about how education should and could be improved.


People miss the point, schools are not the parents and are not there primarily to educate children on how to behave and act, that is a parent's job.  My parents didn't neglect their part, and my local community all knew where the lines were drawn and any one of them could take you to task if you ignored the rules too.  There was a collective responsibility by the community, and most parents to ensure chaos didn't run riot.


Schools and teachers ensured you behaved or else!  As regards to should girls boys or whatever else is now supposed to be a norm, wear whatever they want I'd say no to the hat.  Not least because children/teens can be bullied or abused by peers for not wearing current trendy clothing or girls and boys wearing totally unsuitable fashionable wear to test how much they can get away with, then it becomes a competition and free for all. If they all wear the same clothing to school then one-upmanship and abuses are lessened.


Phone-envy and all sorts exist today.  Not issues in our time, you could not speak without first being spoken to, let alone play and text on your phone and ignore what the teacher is doing.  Children will always push limits, always see how much they can get away with, it's a right of passage.  But today, it is a very dangerous game to keep playing that.  No amount of 'education' on behaviours and relationships at school do a thing if outside the school gates all hell is let loose on a regular basis.


Again it is not the school's job to be parents.  It is not the right of governments to dictate what children must accept and how they act with others, that can only happen to a limited extent in a school environment, and there are plenty of signs that doesn't happen anyway. In short, you need to educate parents first, re-establishing a community helps too, because then everyone understands what is right and what isn't. 


It was the aspect of communal shaming, which was later attacked as a wrong approach.  I don't think it was. It gave carte blanche to then do whatever you want regardless of how that affected others.  There are those who suggest its too late now, we have empowered those who can freely abuse it.  The children decide themselves what they learn, and how they behave.  My old tutor would have ensured they never thought that way again!