Saturday, 18 October 2008

Hoplophobes In Our Schools...

Via ‘Landed Underclass’, this story of a grammar school boy suspended and investigated by the police for the heinous crime of paintballing.

Quite right, you may say – there’s a place and time for paintballing, and it isn’t in school!

Well, umm, this wasn't – it was in his own time and the school objected to him posting images on Facebook:
Police officers questioned the 17-year-old Slough Grammar School student after headteacher Margaret Lenton saw a photo of the bearded-pupil posing with a paintballing gun in overalls with the full headgear. The image, which is on the internet, is believed to have been taken when the youngster went paintballing with a group of friends.
And so headmistress Lenton, having reacted to this hideous image in the same way old maids are said to react to a mouse in their kitchen, immediately called the law.
Police officers confirmed they met the boy and his family and were happy that no offences were committed.

A police statement added: “The student was found to be in possession of some pictures that were brought to the attention of the headteacher. To help address and prevent further concerns, officers arranged to meet with the student and his family. Officers were reassured that this is not a police matter. The family members were left happy with the police’s response. This is now a matter for the school.”
I don’t know what’s worse – that the police didn’t just flip to the Facebook entry, say ‘It’s a paintball gun, you silly cow!’ and slam the phone down, or that the family members are apparently ‘happy’ that the Old Bill feel justified in calling round to have a ‘chat’ on the basis of a teacher’s snooping on their son’s Facebook page!
However, the suspension has caused anger among fellow pupils at the Lascelles Road school who campaigned against the suspension.

More than 100 youngsters, including pupils, have signed up to the campaign group on social networking site Facebook, as an informal petition against what they describe as “the disgraceful and just generally stupid suspension.”

A pupil, who does not want to be named, said: “We all think the suspension was a bit of an over-reaction. He’s a really hard-working student who has been at the school for years. Obviously nobody agrees with carrying a real gun but the photo was just of him holding a paintballing gun when he went out paintballing with his mates as most teenagers do. And that is not illegal.”
Bravo that pupil! Obviously, Slough Grammar turns out pupils able to think for themselves and reject the unthinking kneejerk reactions of their supposed elders and betters.

But where’s the outrage from the boy’s parents? Why aren’t they up in arms about a headmistress snooping around their son’s Facebook page to criticise and act on activities freely undertaken in his own time? Don’t they think this warrants action to prevent this happening to other pupils? What a pity they haven’t shown as much backbone as their son’s classmates...
Mrs Lenton said her decision was supported by school governors but declined to comment further.
No, I bet. I would too, if I were her, and I’d just made as big an arse of myself.

Let’s hope she never drives past Terry Western’s Volvo one afternoon....

8 comments:

patently said...

I take it Slough Grammar does not have a Cadet unit?

As a 17-year-old, I was in charge of running the rifle range. Great fun, and we got to blast the living hell out of poor innocent pieces of paper that had never hurt us....

Dave H. said...

I'm afraid the clue may be in 'bearded'.

Some Islamist groups have used paintballing for military training, then gone on to carry out terrorist attacks.

Sign of the times, I'm afraid. Likewise bearded beople trying to buy peroxide, innocently intending it to bleach said beards, may arouse suspicion.

Dave H. said...

beople? Shithead.

JuliaM said...

"I'm afraid the clue may be in 'bearded'."

It's a possibility (the report does make much of the fact that it's a Muslim schoolboy) but even so, I doubt you'd see different behaviour should he be Polish, Sikh or white English - these people are just unthinking automatons, prone to react as they've been conditioned to react as soon as the dreaded G-U-N is spotted.

As Patently observes, this was never a problem requiring immediate police referral until about 10-15 years ago.

Fear - it's what's for dinner, in the UK in 2008.

"beople? Shithead."

I've got a large gin & tonic to hand - I didn't even see that one first time... ;)

Umbongo said...

She might have overreacted but if this is anything to go by and Slough being Immigration Central, who could blame her?

Furry Conservative said...

I am ashamed to say that I don't know what 'hopolophobe' means...though I do now.

John Pickworth said...

My gob is well and truly smacked!

I shouldn't be surprised though... Here in Blackpool, the Police regularly warn the kids not to play with toy guns out in the street. To do so, may risk poor child getting shot by same police. Seems a little harsh if you ask me?

Stan said...

Coming from Slough I know both the school and the head teacher, Mrs Lenton. It is an excellent school and Mrs Lenton is a first class head - believe it or not, she is not in the least bit "pc". There is a large Asian (Moslem) contingent there, but from my knowledge there is no suggestion that there is any sign of radicalisation in the school . Far from it if anything - the majority of Asian kids I've seen there are very western in their appearance and dress. I do know that Mrs Lenton's school has a very strict disciplinary code and follows it - so this photo must have, in some way, breached that code. One last thing - I mentioned that the school is excellent and it is. If there is one thing that stops me leaving the Slough area (and there ain't much) it is that they still have grammar schools and very good ones. Anyway - I'll reserve judgement on the story until I know more about it. If I find anything else out, I'll let you know.