Natalie Solent

Politics, news, libertarianism, Science Fiction, religion, sewing. You got a problem, bud? I like sewing.

E-mail: nataliesolent-at-aol-dot-com (I assume it's OK to quote senders by name.)

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I also sometimes write for Samizdata and Biased BBC.)

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Thursday, December 16, 2004
Two snapshots of British state education today

(1) The Students' Union at St Andrews has banned a student newspaper, The Saint, because, in the words of the Union, "The Saint's last two issues have included a number of offensive comments as well as misleading statements concerning amongst other groups, the University's LGBT students, dyslexics and the Welsh".

Lots of good jokes about dyslexic Welshmen in the Samizdata comments. None about bisexual dyslexic Welshpersons yet, although there is one about a leek.

(2) Via Joanne Jacobs, Kimberly Swygert and Manchester Online, I found a splendid example of Object Fetishism. Manchester Online says that:

PENCIL sharpeners have been banned from a primary school after a pupil dismantled one and used the blade to slash another child's neck. The victim was attacked in the playground at Waterloo Primary School in Ashton under Lyne.

He was taken to Tameside Hospital where he had butterfly stitches placed on the wound. The attacker was suspended for two days and is now back in school.

Kimberly Swygert comments:
A two-day suspension for deliberately striking near someone's jugular with a razor-sharp object? And the offender is allowed to return, while the sharp objects are not? You have got to be kidding me.

'Fraid not. You must understand that pencil sharpeners disrupt the flow of mana. Things with unbalanced mana are tabu. (Mind you, that website says that one of the ways in which you can dissipate or unbalance your mana is "agreeing to be a teacher for a student who did not want to learn." Since slashing a classmate's neck does not suggest a thirst for learning, maybe the Waterloo Primary staff ought to declare themselves tabu.)
...the decision to allow the boy to return to school has angered parents. Some have signed a petition calling on the school to permanently expel the youngster. One parent, who did not wish to be named, said: "Are our children safe when we send them through those gates every morning? The lad purposely took the blade out of the sharpener. In my eyes that is a pre-meditated attack. My children know the difference between right and wrong. To suspend that boy for just two days is no punishment at all."
There are some good comments to the Manchester Online article, a lot of them from the US. My guess is that many of them came via Joanne Jacobs and Kimberly Swygert.

The story made the Sun and the BBC. Also the blog Zero Intelligence - "Fighting school board inanity since 2004" -
has helpfully archived its British stories, including this one, all in one place. Happy reading!