Girls' school head condemns bubblewrapping of kids
How packaging materials are ruining British youth
A former British Army Lancer turned girls' school headmaster is the latest to come out against the practice of bubblewrapping children.
Robert McKenzie Johnston, head of the private Queen Mary’s School in Yorkshire, told the Girls Schools Association conference that the safety-conscious culture was being used as an excuse for not doing things and was undermining the "soul" of childhood, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Rather than enclosing his charges in bubblewrap, or the equally moral-fibre-sapping cotton wool, he was happy for them to toboggan down stairs and go walking in the woods at night without a torch.
"I think the girls need to assess risk themselves," he told the conference. As part of this, he said, he is also happy for students to swim in the river on the school grounds to help foster their love of the great outdoors.
According to the school's website, other activities on offer include judo, shooting, canoeing and, of course, pottery. Not to mention riding.
Johnston has touched a raw nerve in a country raised on images of the fearless students of the fictional St Trinians, yet afraid that its moral courage and very muscular moral fibre is being sapped by health and safety bureaucrats intent on wrapping the nation's youth in sundry figurative protective substances. No one's said anything yet, but we're confident that Jiffy bags, scrunched-up newspapers, polystyrene beads, tin foil, and tissue paper will be appearing on the hit list pretty soon.
Last month, TV parenting guru Tanya Byron warned that bubblewrapped children were more likely to fall prey to net predators.
Schools secretary Ed Balls warned of the danger of wrapping children in cotton wool earlier this year, saying kids should spend their time having conker and snowball fights. But not at the same time, presumably.
Even the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has clambered (with all due care, following a thorough risk assessment report) onto the bandwagon - it said that playgrounds had become too safe, meaning that thrill-seeking kids were turning to that other old standby, the railway tracks. ®
What you learn as a child defines you as an adult.
Trite, isn't it.
What do you think of a government that tries to prevent normal social interaction between kids (bullying, violent games, hazardous activities etc), while prolonging the immersion in such a protected environment (raising the compulsory school leaving age to 18) and but proposes lowering the voting age to 16 ?
How can somebody raised in such a false environment be entrusted to make informed decisions about the fate of themselves and their fellow citizens via the ballot box ?
But of course this is the nanny state, so they want adults who are indoctrinated into accepting that the govt. always knows what's best, and doesn't dare question or disobey their masters. Just as long as they can get rich and possibly famous.
Let's see, what have I ever done that's possibly hazardous :
Done illicit drugs.
Ridden large motorbikes.
Climbed cliffs and mountains and trees.
Drunk alcohol excessively.
Broken the speed limit.
Argued with big blokes in the pub.
Turned up in foreign countries with nowhere to stay and no local currency while not speaking the language, then getting drunk and walking the streets at 3am.
The common theme here is that I have, by and large, got away with it. I'm still here, I'm still whole, I've never been incarcerated. I work full time, I pay my taxes, and I don't bow down to anyone. One of the most telling things about todays society I find, is the queue for a cashpoint machine. People form an orderly queue, but straight across the pavement, so that passers by have to walk in the road to get past. Surely the thing to do is queue parallel to the wall. But that would require common sense, which seems to be the thing that has kept me alive and functioning all these years, but is sadly lacking in the last few generations. Just take a look at the outside lane of any motorway for examples. Idiots driving at 90mph just 6 or 7 feet from the back of the car they're following, and then they wonder why they have to hit the brakes all the time. Except they don't wonder, if they did, then that would imply intelligence, and they wouldn't be doing it in the first place.
Common sense is not inherited BTW, it has to be learned. Not by rote, but by application of a few general rules to any given situation. The general rules are the things that have to be taught by someone with experience.
I doubt whether this headmaster just lets pupils do anything they want, he has imposed rules of some kind, to set the boundaries. It's just that his boundaries are not the claustrophobic ones the government seeks for the rest of us.
As for conker "fights". I remember one at school where the air was black with flying conkers over a large area about 100 yards square. It continued magnificently for about 20 minutes, right up until the deputy headmaster took one to the head and everybody scattered (heh heh heh). Fireworks, don't talk to me about fireworks. We used to have an annual firework fight down on a deserted beach and in nearby woodland starting at about 9 or 10 pm. We used rockets and airbombs to great effect and made special launchers to give greater protection and launch accuracy. Of the maybe 5 consecutive years we did this, there was only ever one injury and that was caused by an inadvertent headbutt. The reason for the lack of injuries was that we wore full face crash helmets, bike gloves, leather jackets, and 2 pairs of jeans and heavy boots. Did I mention that we were drunk at the time we did all this ? Fireworks are dangerous, but you can mitigate that danger and have a cracking good time. The headbutt occurred when we called for halftime, and one guy removed his helmet but another guy ran around a corner with his helmet still on .... thud, ouch. But no real damage done. I'm sure there'll be a bunch of "but if" but you would never go outside if you take that attitude to life.
I mentioned that I have taken drugs. One of my pet peeves was when reading the local rag, and seeing the statements made by someone up in front of the beak for various offences. Invariably, if the defendant had been caught in possession of an illegal drug when arrested, the excuse for the other crime (burglary, whatever) would be, "the drugs made me do it". Bollocks. I've been in some right states under the influence, and the drugs have never ever made me do anything I didn't want to do. So blame the cowardly criminal for the war on drugs, for making it appear that the drugs are a force for evil, where in actual fact, the criminal is an idiot looking for a lighter sentence.
Maybe it appears that I have drifted wildly off topic, but I fear the reality is this. By "protecting" children and generally the citizens of the country, the government is quietly instilling a fear of the unknown into the population. This is very useful to a government. People who have no experience of danger are not in a position to experiment with it. Better not protest in public, we don't know what the police will do. Better not drink/take drugs/smoke/speed/gamble, we don't know what the consequences will be. The government says it's bad for us, and we don't know any better, so we'll just toe the line. It's best not to have an imagination, that can get you into trouble. Anybody who has read George Orwell should recognise this meme. Therefore it is our duty as free independent citizens to resist these attempts to control us.
I don't claim there is a hidden govt. conspiracy to deprive us of our rights, but rather that the actions of a few stupid (but well meaning) people in power will eventually result in a situation where the machinery is in place to completely control us, and that is when the clever bastards step up and assume power. By then of course, it's far to late to stop it.
Unfortunately I could go on but I sense I may have said too much already ;-)
Educated via the american school system. The devil incarnate... and one of the richest men in the world; who didn't finish college his first time thru.
Eight out of ten of the worlds super computers were designed, built, and hosted within the borders of the US. This is a credit to american college system.
But as with any system, there are cracks. Some of my fellow students shouldn't be permited to breed let alone compleat their schooling.
I've met many of your college-educated American nationals.