Monday, 20 July 2009

”A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.”

So, while Humberside police were persecuting dumpster-divers, their West Sussex colleagues were having a jolly day out scaring the kiddies:
Some of the seven to 11-year-olds were left in tears after a spaceship apparently crash-landed and a teacher was abducted by aliens.

To make it look realistic, the school obtained sirens and flashing lights from the police and littered the grounds with debris from the 'spaceship'.
I could do with some sirens and flashing lights the next time I have a garden party. What do you reckon the hire rates are?
The 'Everyone Writes Day' - for all 370 pupils at the school in Burgess Hill, West Sussex - was designed to develop youngsters' writing skills.

It is based on an idea from the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the National Literacy Trust. The aim is to find ways to take writing beyond the classroom and to provide 'exciting stimuli' for storytelling.

At the start of the day, head Diana Goss informed pupils that an alien craft had crashed near the school and pupils were encouraged to 'follow a trail of debris' before stumbling across the UFO.

Sussex Police set up a crime scene around the crashed craft and supplied a police constable and a community support officer for two hours to help the children produce witness statements.
Let me just get this straight here - Sussex Police saw nothing wrong with spending the time of a PC and a PCSO helping a school fake a saucer crash?

There wasn't anything else they could have been doing, perhaps? Patrolling for crimes being committed? Watching the skies, perhaps?

Oh, and the children they decided to scare out of their wits were special needs children:
Pupils were told that Joy Law, the school's learning support teacher, who is responsible for special needs pupils, had been abducted.
Which didn't go down too well with the children or the parents:
Linda Molds, whose son Harry, nine, is autistic, said: 'He was genuinely worried that Mrs Law had been abducted.

'Because she deals with the learning support kids, they're all very close to her - and I know many of them were terrified by the whole experience.

'Harry will take everything you say literally, so when he was told aliens had taken Mrs Law away and the police were investigating - and then he actually saw the police - he believed every word.'

Lisa Maynard, 34, whose nine-year-old daughter Ashleigh is also a pupil at the school, said: 'She was incredibly upset by the whole thing.

'She came home in tears, telling me Mrs Law had been abducted. She's very fond of Mrs Law, and the whole thing really shook her up. She couldn't sleep.

'It was just too realistic, too dramatic. All the police, the sirens, the cordon - it was just too much.'
Quite.

And all those parents who have told their childrn to trust the police, because they never lie to you, will be having some awkward moments right about now...
Last night, in a statement the school said: 'A few parents expressed concerns that some of the children had been upset by the apparent realism, and the head has spoken with them personally.

'The school would never knowingly do anything to upset or alarm children.

'The children were reassured throughout the morning that they were perfectly safe. They produced some excellent creative and factual writing.'
Perhaps we ought to report these jokers to the Independent Safeguarding Authority as a 'potential danger to children'?
Sussex Police said: 'The police input was well-intentioned, and it was thought pupils would have a fun day.'
Oh, I’m sure you did.

But that’s not what we pay you for, is it?

14 comments:

captainff said...

The school's site has their take on the day.

"The ‘Everyone Writes Day’ was based on an idea from the Department for Children, Schools and Families and National Literacy Trust. The aim was to find ways to take writing beyond the classroom, to provide exciting stimuli for writing and to inspire children to write creatively. Local police involvement was an important ingredient, adding a touch of reality to the day and strengthening community links.

The scenario was that a small space-craft had crashed on the school field. There was also reason to believe that a member of staff had gone missing. Community police officers helped the children produce eye-witness accounts and take statements. Children were reassured throughout the morning that everything was under control and that they were perfectly safe."


Slightly different to the "children in tears" from the newspaper report?

James Higham said...

Oh, and the children they decided to scare out of their wits were special needs children.

That's the point which strikes me.

Blognor Regis said...

I think auto-outrage has got the better of you here. Seems like a great idea to me.

JuliaM said...

"Slightly different to the "children in tears" from the newspaper report?"

Some seem to have been. Certainly, the special needs children have been identified as being upset by it, and you would expect them to be less able to distinguish make-believe from reality.

Particularly if the police - the real police - are seen to be involved.

" think auto-outrage has got the better of you here."

Well, not everyone agrees with anything. It's telling, though, how dismissive the 'it was a great idea!' crown are of others' concerns:

"Bettina Parrett-Jung said: “The children, including those who were initially scared, will spend the next 50 years telling everyone about the day. "

So, that's ok then, is it?

It seems a great dissonance to me that on the one hand, we wrap children in cotton wool, yet when it's for the sake of being 'creative', we are happy to scare the wits out of them...

JuliaM said...

"Slightly different to the "children in tears" from the newspaper report?"

Some seem to have been. Certainly, the special needs children have been identified as being upset by it, and you would expect them to be less able to distinguish make-believe from reality.

Particularly if the police - the real police - are seen to be involved.

" think auto-outrage has got the better of you here."

Well, not everyone agrees with anything. It's telling, though, how dismissive the 'it was a great idea!' crowd are of others' concerns:

"Bettina Parrett-Jung said: “The children, including those who were initially scared, will spend the next 50 years telling everyone about the day. "

So, that's ok then, is it?

It seems a great dissonance to me that on the one hand, we wrap children in cotton wool, yet when it's for the sake of being 'creative', we are happy to scare the wits out of them...

jonathan said...

You know when you have a ' Department for Children' bad things will happen.

North Northwester said...

"Bettina Parrett-Jung...

They aren't making up that name, are they?
I mean, really?

...said: “The children, including those who were initially scared, will spend the next 50 years telling everyone about the day. "

And the next 50 years dreaming about...what, exactly?

I mean, wasn't this the kind of thing that the Orkneys police and social workers thought was going on - but with Satan instead of ET being the cover story for harming kids?

But don't you worry; it's not just watching the skies they're up to - it seems that the Police Service has set up its very own Aurors Division, so we'll soon be safe from the Death Eaters, too..

blueknight said...

Julia
I am with you on this one. The Police have been doing Schools Liaison for years in the dim hope that it will save 'little johnny' from a life of crime. And some of the Liaison could involve role play, discussions and writing.
This however was all wrong. It sounds to me as if it was a 'normal lesson' in which the Schools liaison Police had been asked to help out.
I would like to think thay thay had nothing else to do with it, but..

Anonymous said...

Still it was all one big lie they told the children. there was no UFO.
As for telling the children they were safe How could any child believe this when so much police presence and such alarums.
When you cry wolf who do you expect to believe you?

JuliaM said...

"Bettina Parrett-Jung...

They aren't making up that name, are they?"


Heh! I thought it was far too good a name NOT to quote..

"I mean, wasn't this the kind of thing that the Orkneys police and social workers thought was going on - but with Satan instead of ET..."

Bea Campbell might like to wonder if 'the truth is out there' after reading this...

"I am with you on this one. The Police have been doing Schools Liaison for years in the dim hope that it will save 'little johnny' from a life of crime."

Not working out so well so far, is it? Though we can't calculate the deterrent effect, of course.

"When you cry wolf who do you expect to believe you?"

Indeed. I suppose, therefore, it has taught them a valuable lesson after all.

Just not one about creative writing...

bubbafat9000 said...

damn, I don't like all this bitchin. I wish something like this happened when I was a kid... Everyday I daydreamed of aliens and wishing I could be abducted. Sitting in a classroom all day is not my idea of a good time. And all you weak bitches can do i sit and complain about it. Probably the only interesting thing that will happen in their lives, and all you can do is complain about it. Know why, cuz your a Big pussy thats why.

JuliaM said...

Cheers for that incisive commentary, bubba. Feel free to drop by again with more words of wisdom :)

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