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Friday, 12 June 2015


Social Media and the news media have been agog with some disturbing news from Leeds. 

Folk rush to opine using knee-jerk phrases which are then 'answered' in similar thoughtless fashion.

To read their rushed words, you'd think nothing untoward ever happened and that Mr. Chips is still teaching and all places are just like his.

Assaults make the headlines, but just like the proverbial iceberg, there's more underneath.

The problems one faces depends to a large extent on where and in particular the social background of the area. When you find that the new 11 year old transfer comes complete with parole officer, or a girl is known by the police because hers is a family of shoplifters, organised by the father who takes them to various shopping centres... 

A former colleague once referred to a pupil as a 'murderee', someone likely to be murdered because of their behaviour. Indeed, the lad first made the news mainly for his antisocial behaviour tormenting a local disabled man. Duly warned by the police, the lad went back to his ways, until the time that his victim struck back. He literally put an end to his tormentor. 

In most circumstances the adult in the classroom has no say over who enters and takes part. Lads and in some cases lasses might appear on transfer, but, they are not the 'wanted' signings but those that have run out of chances elsewhere. They make a new start and except for slight hints, some appear to have become 'model citizens' because they are no longer with their old peer group. They leave and you think nothing of them, until there are news reports. Two former students 'downtown' clubbing get into a disagreement. But, later that night one follows the other homewards and stabs him to death. Then, you find out that the one murdered was in your form and the other came into school on transfer.

Another time, a pupil is absent, but you are warned not to investigate as the 'powers that be' know all about it. Local news sheds light on the lad's disappearance. He'd stolen a car and was razzing round the area, until he reversed and hit something. The something turns out to have been a toddler. Now, the condoned absence is explained. The local area are understandably 'up in arms' about the incident. Therefore, the police have helped to move the lad and his family to a place of safety.

After long years in retirement, the old days spring to the fore. There's another murder and both people were known to you. Former pupils are now murderer and victim. This time the news spreads like wildfire because the assault was not only unprovoked but the weapon was a machete! Campaigns launched against violence in the local area hit the headlines and you realise you taught other members of the family.

Months later, the court convenes and out of interest you follow it in the news. Some people are charged with hindering the police in their comes as no surprize to recognize some of the names.

Forward to June 2015, the local newspaper has a report of another murder. It's some teens of years into retirement, yet, once more both murderer and victim stir up memories from a career in teaching.

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