Despite all the recent anti-bullying initiatives in schools, surprise, surprise: the problem of truly terrible bullying in schools has not gone away.
From the Beeb Website:
"To give some indication of how bad the bullying can be in some cases, Dr Herbert recalls how one child had been hit over the head so badly that he had to have a metal plate inserted. Another boy had been forced to swallow a sharpened coin which made him very ill. He was too scared to tell his mother and doctor and it was only when he was x-rayed in hopsital three weeks later that the problem came to light."
and further re the children at her centre, Dr Herbert says:
"I would say 50% of our children have attempted suicide."
Given that we know that school children have always faced serious problems in this regard, the fact that some truly terrible stories are only now making their way to the press is most likely a product of a gradual realisation that it simply will not do to paper over these facts any more. At last (though way too late for many), it seems as if the damage resulting from being forced to go to an abusive institution is finally being recognised by some professionals and by the press as a whole. I suppose we should resist the urge to say "Duhhh, how slow can you be?" in response to paragraphs such as the following:
"Dr Herbert says it is crucial to stop bullying in schools so that lives are not ruined. "It has a terrible effect on people's lives. I've met adults who say they don't form relationships, can't trust people, can't hold down a job and so on because they were bullied in school. ""If we don't deal with bullying between the ages of 11 and 17, then we are storing up problems for the future."
The two anti-bullying initiatives which were reported in the article look like just so much papering over the cracks. They will do nothing to alter the fact that an increasing number of children, either consciously or otherwise, realise that they are being placed in a morally corrupt position of being forced to go to a place against their will. School, for most children is predicated upon being bullied.
Their response? Well, if not sufficiently supported to think and behave otherwise, children will take this meme on board and start bullying themselves, or else they will realise that the institution is completely corrupt and doesn't deserve their attention or support. Chatting to young pupils about the awfulness of bullying and temporarily taking victims out of school, only to return them cruelly to their place of torture a year later, doesn't address this root problem in the slightest.
Good grief. When will people wake up to the fact that we are trying to help our children be responsible autonomous beings in a free and open society. How can this possibly be achieved when all that is offered them for the whole of their young lives is a model of how to live whilst being coerced?
A radical new approach to education will rapidly become necessary as the meme of schooling righty collapses under the weight of stories such as these. We need to think seriously about how a Home Educating society could work.