Meandering Monday Musings: Police Checks for Parents Attending School Events? Say What?


This is the first of Grumpy’s Meandering Monday Musings. On Mondays, Grumps will take an issue or an unusual news item and give you his take. These are personal views but with a “tongue-in-cheek” satirical slant. At least, that’s what I hope.

One of the things that makes Grumpy Grumpier is the systemic flaws in all big organizations. As organizations (governments, government agencies) get bigger the management layer expands exponentially. Too often , you have managers looking for things to manage and thereby creating policies, procedures and plans that make it increasingly difficult for the grunts (You and I) to function efficiently. Even though you are doing your job well, these “suits” are looking for ways for you to do it better. Here’s a case where someone really dropped the ball on child safety policy at a school in Engand. Let me know what you think?

Meandering Monday Musings: Police Checks for Parents Attending School Events? Say What?

Being a former teacher, I feel my career gave me many a reward; including this pension that keeps the Grumpy’ family’s head above water. However, during my career there were also many many frustrations and towards the end “micro management and control” was the worst one of all.

It seemed that if a child sneezed on a playground in Toronto an edict would be sent to the rest of the schools in the Province saying, “Thou shalt provide boxes of tissue for the unrestricted use of all children on the playground without constraint or malice!”

Say what?

Yes, if someone passed wind in the Big Smoke, we all got the odoriferous blow back in the outback. Rules upon rules upon rules rained down, making it more difficult to do your job.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for child safety but really, do we need to shelter them and never allow them to fend for themselves. I remember the playground being like a jungle when I went to school. I learned a lot of hard lessons there; lessons that made me a stronger person today I believe.

Let’s say a bigger stronger child was about to pound the snot out of me. I believe these folks are called “bullies.”

Well, I learned how to quickly, “Kick him in the nuts!” and then run like hell.

There you go – confrontation over.

So, I was completely in shock when I read the following headline.

School bans parents watching sports day without criminal record check

(The Telegraph, Oct.1, 2012)

WTF!

“A school has banned parents from watching their children take part in sports events – unless they pass a criminal record check. The Isambard Community School in Swindon Wilts (Great Britain), insists all parents must clear a Criminal Records Bureau check to weed out potential paedophiles.”

“A spokesman said: “It is with regret that from now on we will be unable to accommodate parents wishing to spectate at our sports fixtures unless they are in possession of an up-to-date Swindon Council CRB check. “

“At Isambard we take safeguarding very seriously and because of this we are unable to leave gates open for access to sporting venues at any time during the school day.

Parent, Neil Park, had this to say.

“George was really upset by it all. What are they going to stop you going to next? Parents’ evening? The school play?” (The Telegraph, Oct.1, 2012)

By George, I think little George should be upset with this situation. Can you imagine the paperwork involved in this kind of parent monitoring. Masses of parents lined up at the school gate, waving their CRB papers and chanting, “We are the parents not the pedophiles! Let us in!”

I can see it now. A long line forms at the gymnasium in Swindon. Parents are excited to come out and see their children perform in the play, “And Justice for All.” Everyone, of course, left home early given that there would be long lines at the security booth.

PRINCIPAL: I need to see your CRB, Mr. Wigglebottom. Do you have one, sir?

Mr. Wigglebottom: What’s a CRB, mate? Never heard of it!

(Wigglebottom’s breath has the distinct scent of amber ale upon it. He’s come straight up from the Local, no doubt.)

PRINCIPAL: That would be your Criminal Records Bureau Check, sir. You know the one we require from the police.

(Principal has his chin in his hands in the standard pre-scold manner. He is shaking his head back and forth.)

Mr. Wigglebottom: Whot! I ain’t never had one nor will I get me one neither, bloke! Whot you think I am, one of dem footy hooligans ya sees on the telly?

PRINCIPAL: Sir, we are trying to protect the children from pedophiles. This is how we weed them out.

Mr. Wigglebottom: Then git your ownself some of dat super-duper bug spray. I don’t want wee Charlie getting’ bit by one of those wiggly buggers that crawls around on the floor. All dem wiggly legs are nasty.

(Wigglebottom sticks out his snake like tongue in disgust)

PRINCIPAL: That’s pedophile, Mr. Wigglebottom, not millipede. You’ve twisted the word around and you’re confused! The “pede” is at the beginning of the word – p-e-d-o-p-h-i-l-e. (He spells it slowly.)

Mr. Wigglebottom:  I may be confused but see here ya bloody fool; I’m headin’ right through this here door. I ain’t no bloody wanker, so gang way, Chump!

(Mr. Wigglebottom puts his shoulder down and barges through the doorway followed, of course, by a hoard of other paperless parents.)

The next day The Daily Post proclaims; Drama Hooligans Disrupt School Play: Suspected Pedophile Held for Questioning.

Now, maybe I’m pretty thick, but if the police have information that a parent is a pedophile wouldn’t those kids be living somewhere else? Wouldn’t Papa Pedophile be under arrest or under constant supervision? Wouldn’t the school be informed by the authorities that Nigel Wigglebottom – PEDOPHILE – is part of the school community? Is it the job of police to just produce paperwork on this?

My gawd, what can we expect next?

How about a police check for prospective parents? Why not nip this in the bud right from the get-go. I don’t think child molesters should have children do you? And, if they do and you know about it, kick the sicko out of his home or at least apprehend the children. Don’t give the school one more thing to manage and one more thing that will piss off parents.

Most of all, each one of these edicts from the suits and academics up there in the Ivory Tower can create immeasurable additional problems. It is the spinoffs, such as writing incident reports, speaking to authorities, intervention, workshops and a whole list of other extra duties that pile one on top of the other that take teachers away from what they do best – teaching!

Layer upon layer – these edicts, rules and policies pile up to overwhelm the system with procedural blockages, the likes of which detract from the real job of education – that of teaching and preparing kids for the big bad world.

The system creates so many checks and balances that, at every turn, there are roadblocks to real learning. The focus of education becomes the system itself (policies and procedures), financing and management, and learning begins to take a backseat.

Based on what happened in Swindon Wilts, here are some other policy possibilities that might just turn up in the future.

Teaching certificate prerequisite: All Teachers must take at least three courses in Police Foundations: Crowd Control, Safe Restraints and Interrogation and Negotiation Practices.

Ten foot high fences are erected around school playgrounds. Razor wire is installed. Observation towers are erected at each corner for the use of yard duty teachers. Stun Guns are standard issue for yard supervision. Bullies are isolated into a holding area and must fight it out for school supremacy. Store front Police Precincts are established in each school’s administration office.

The children’s lunches must pass the nutrition standards test. Lunch inspection lines are set up before eating and all empty calorie foods are confiscated. Suspensions are imposed for food contraband and food trading.

School sports are cancelled because there have been too many bloody noses and boo boos. In their place board game leagues are set up. Students are put on a waiting list for the Monopoly Elite Division because of high interest. Superintendents claim that the use of dice increases student success in Data Management and Probability. District “Coaches” are recruited to implement and workshop the new Board Game approach.

Playgrounds and recess breaks are banned. The powers that be determine that recess is dangerous and the ground on playgrounds is too hard. It would be too expensive to install a rubberized surface. Students must spend their breaks standing in snack and lunch inspection lines or playing Board Game Intramurals.

Homework and/or extra assignments are banned as they are deemed too stressful for children. Parents have argued for years that they have no time to devote to projects. Meanwhile, Teachers continue to take armloads of work home and have little or no time for their own children.

All students, beginning in Kindergarten are required to get a police check. The education system claims this is the best way to weed out “bullies”. (NOTE: Nursery school arrests are on the rise.) Bullies form a lobby group claiming, “We have the right to beat down because that is how we express ourselves.” The Supreme Court considers how this might be a Charter of Rights Issue.

And so on!

Once again, the inmates are running the asylum.

I’m sure glad I’m retired and I think you see where I’m coming from.

What do you think? Leave a comment here!

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