I want to tell you a little story. It’s a true story, happened just this past week. I’m not going to use the real names of the people involved because that’s not my place, but the story is true. And I think it’s says an awful lot about the times we live in…
***Sarcasm mode on***
At a local secondary school, let’s call it Anonymous High, they have a policy in place for dealing with disruptive pupils – sorry, I mean, Challenging Young Learners – whereby those individuals causing the disruption can be removed from lessons and isolated. They are sent by the teacher, sorry, I mean Educational Professional, to, let’s call it Room X, where a Senior Educational Professional overseas the rebellious horde.
Good idea in principle, but the system relies on those pup… Young Learners being removed to make their own way to Room X. Given they are already in a rebellious mood, having caused the classroom disruption in the first place, this level of trust is perhaps somewhat misplaced. But anyway…
A few days ago, a member of the Educational Professional staff was having problems with a particular pu… Young Learner. Let’s call her Miss Naive and him Little Jonny. Miss Naive decided the best way to continue with her lesson was to send Little Jonny to Room X. But Little Jonny had other ideas. On his way to Room X – which was in a different part of the building – he stopped off at the staff room, which was unoccupied, found Miss Naive’s handbag, went through it and stole… sorry, borrowed, her mobile phone.
I’m sure he just wanted to scare her to get her back and had no evil intentions whatsoever. He probably just wanted to hide it and was going to give it back to her at the end of the day.
On browsing the contents of Miss Naive’s snazzy smartphone – as you do – Little Jonny found several photographs of her in compromising positions and in most of them she was less than fully clothed. Well, what do you expect a Precocious Young Learner to do? He MMSed the photos to all the people in her address book – which included family members including her children, most of the other Educational Professional staff members including several Senior Educational Professional staff and some of the parents of pup… Young Learners in her form group. He then made sure to send the photos to most of his friends and upped them to a photo sharing website for good measure.
All of which was perfectly reasonable since Little Jonny thought it best that everyone possible knew the sort of things Miss Naive got up to in her private life – he thought the school could do without that sort of pervert teaching there.
And he got his wish. Miss Naive didn’t return to school the next week – handing in her notice in a telephone conversation with the headtea…, er, Managing Educational Professional.
And what do you think happened to innocent Little Jonny? He was handed a four day exclusion. FOUR WHOLE DAYS! For exposing the nasty slut to the whole school and her family. The Managing Educational Professional said he couldn’t allow the other pupi… Young Learners to think it was okay not to go straight to Room X when sent or to go in the staff room without permission.
***Sarcasm mode off***
Okay, so I hammed it up a bit, but the bones of the story are indeed true. A pupil at this local school did indeed steal a mobile phone from the staff member who’d sent him to the isolation room from her lesson and did indeed find compromising photos of her on the phone which he distributed to everyone he could in all digital methods available to him.
And then the only punishment he got was a four day - yes, I did say four day - exclusion. In effect, his summer holidays have started a week early. While the staff member is now seeking employment opportunities elsewhere having come to the conclusion in a conversation with the headteacher that her position in the school was irrecoverably undermined.
Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture, or is it just me?
Okay, so said teacher was foolish to keep those photos on her phone and equally foolish not to ensure that her phone was secure from prying eyes, but still… I just can’t help but think that the person who has ultimately been ‘punished’ here isn’t the pupil that stole the phone, but the victim of said theft. And that, I’m afraid, just ain’t right.