How Not to Teach Children

These beggar belief.   First, a mock crime-scene at Laidley State High School near Brisbane, Australia is reported to have involved one pupil standing on a table wearing a noose on a chair wearing a noose. Information is patchy – and nothing appears to be found on the website of the school – but he appears to have fallen from the table and almost did the Tyburn Jig; being cut down by teachers alerted by the screams of other pupils.

Although after a check-over by paramedics, he was allowed to return home with his mother, it appears matters could have gone worse as he reported hallucinating his recently deceased sister.

Elsewhere, Scottish teacher Stephen McInally has been struck-off by the General Teaching Council for a series of incidents at my old school, the Vale of Leven Academy in Alexandria (also the high school in cult-classic, Take the High Road). Already with a final warning for making lewd and sexually explicit remarks to pupils, he then showed a class of 15 and 16 year olds a YouTube video he had received from a friend. Consisting of an excerpt from the film, Downfall, about the final days of Hitler and the German people’s subsequent path to recovery, the dialogue had been changed to include overt sectarian remarks.

When I was at primary school in Alexandria in the 1980s, I recall boys (and some girls) who had been given green pencils waiting until that of another colour – although blue preferably – became available. Later, when I went to the Academy, there were one or two declared Celtic fans (and, yes, they were Roman Catholic) who were exotic creatures.

Persistent demands to know which football team I supported is probably why I grew to detest the sport. Yet I had to declare a team, so chose Aberdeen. For this reason, I kid you not, my favourite colour became red, and I still feel certain pangs of dread when I see blue or green.

McInally’s defence involved his claiming that medication for depression had caused him to act irrationally but, with personal experience of that, I have little sympathy. Maybe it could have caused him to make inappropriate comments off the cuff, such as the originally lewd remarks, but not the time and consideration needed to view the YouTube video at home and then bring it into class.


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