Sunday, 22 July 2012

Signs Of The Times

Saturday, Jul 21, 2012 05:00 PM +0100

Unleash our kids

"Crime is at a 40-year low, but nervous parents are limiting their kids' freedom to roam -- and it hurts urban life

When Lenore Skenazy was growing up in Wilmette, Ill., in the 1960s, she routinely walked the four blocks between her home and her kindergarten all by herself. She knew to stay safe near traffic and not go anywhere with a stranger. And to help her cross the street was a friendly crossing guard — a sixth-grader named Joey. “For the record, I ended up marrying him,” she laughs.

That a kindergartner was allowed to toddle four blocks without adult supervision seems extraordinary now, even though cities are at least as safe for children today as they were then. Crime is at a 40-year low. The percentage of kids fatally hit by cars has been dropping for decades. And the child abductors that leer from every corner are tabloid fantasy — only about 100 kids, out of tens of millions, are kidnapped in public by a stranger each year."

7:40AM BST 22 Jul 2012

Climate of fear surrounds children’s sports coaches

"Regulations designed to protect children who take part in sports from sex abuse have created a climate of fear for coaches, according to new research. London 2012 Olympics: Climate of fear surrounds children’s sports coaches The researchers, who interviewed around 100 coaches from a range of sports, found that swimming was regarded as the riskiest sport of all, with anyone, particularly older men, who wanted to coach being viewed with suspicion.

Many coaches are so fearful of being accused of abuse that sports training has become a strict 'no touch’ zone, even in potentially dangerous situations, it is claimed.

Researchers at Manchester Metropolitan University found that the prioritisation of child protection may jeopardise attempts to widen participation in sport.

The study is the first to look at the issue of 'touching’ within sport in the UK. It found that some coaches have given up working with children for fear of any repercussions or false accusations."

7:20AM BST 22 Jul 2012

Teacher at girls’ school banned from teaching for 'obsession with sex’

"A teacher at an all girls’ school has been banned from classrooms after being accused of being “obsessed with sex”.

Dr Michael Davis, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, has now been banned from teaching in England

As an expert in medieval history and the author of a series of historical novels, he seemed like an obvious candidate for a teaching role at a girls’ school.

And when Dr Michael Davis began work, he was praised by colleagues for the rigour and discipline in his classroom.

But for pupils, there was a problem – his lessons seemed more like Horrible Histories, dwelling on the seedier side of life in bygone days.

Children said his lessons were peppered with adult terms and slang, with references to “sex”, “breasts” and “rape”. He told one class that Henry VIII’s split with Rome was hastened because Anne Boleyn had “a bun in the oven”.

A class of 11 and 12 year olds were told that in the Middle Ages they would already have been married off, to men of his age. Girls aged 14 and 15 were taught to write essays using the mnemonic “SEX” – S for structure, E for evidence and X for explanation."

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