To Sir, with !#*#!** love
Harold F. Schiffman
haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Tue Aug 30 12:45:26 UTC 2005
>>From the Courier-Mail (Au)
To Sir, with !#*#!** love
A SECONDARY school is to allow students to swear at teachers as long as
they do not do so more than five times in a lesson. A running tally of how
many times the f-word has been used will be kept on the board. If a class
goes over the limit, they will be "spoken" to at the end of the lesson.
The astonishing policy, which the school says will improve the behaviour
of students, was condemned by parents' groups and MPs yesterday.
They warned it would backfire. Parents were advised of the plan, which
comes into effect when term starts next week, in a letter from the Weavers
School in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. Assistant headmaster Richard
White said the policy was aimed at 15 and 16-year-olds in two classes that
were considered troublesome. "Within each lesson the teacher will
initially tolerate (although not condone) the use of the f-word (or
derivatives) five times and these will be tallied on the board so all
students can see the running score," he wrote in the letter. "Over this
number the class will be spoken to by the teacher at the end of the
Parents called the rule "wholly irresponsible and ludicrous". "This
appears to be a misguided attempt to speak to kids on their own level,"
said the father of one student. Nick Seaton, the chairman of the Campaign
for Real Education, said: "In these sort of situations teachers should be
setting clear principles of 'do and don't'.
"They should not be compromising in an apparent attempt to please the
pupils. This will send out completely the wrong message. Youngsters will
play up to this and ensure they use their five goes, demeaning the
authority of the teacher." Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said the policy was
based on Alice in Wonderland reasoning. "What next?" she asked.
"Do we allow people to speed five times or burgle five times? You don't
improve something by allowing it, you improve something by discouraging
it." The 1130-student school, which was criticised as "not effective" by
Ofsted inspectors in November, also plans to send "praise postcards" to
the parents of children who do not swear and who turn up on time for
lessons. Headmaster Alan Large said he had received no complaints about
the policy. "The reality is that the f-word is part of these young
adults' everyday language," he said.
"As a temporary policy we are giving them a bit of leeway, but want them
to think about the way they talk and how they might do better."
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