We received a letter from TeenH’s school yesterday complaining about behaviour: not hers in particular but her year group in general. The complaint, however, had nothing to do with events at the school.
The issue is, it would appear, that students from her school and a neighbouring school tend to gather outside the local take-aways after school and members of the public are complaining about it. The essence of the letter was that students should go straight home after school.
I often have cause to pass these groups on my way home from work and while they do tend to fill up the pavement I find a simple “excuse me” is usually sufficient to allow passage. I cannot see what the problem is, unless the complainants believe the nonsense in the Daily Mail or the demented ravings of Tory think-tanks and assume all groups of teenagers are feral gangs up to no good.
The Tory press has been endlessly repeating the ‘Broken Britain’ meme to scare people into voting for David Cameron’s lot at the next general election. As was recently demonstrated when a much trumpeted teen-pregnancy rate of 54% turned out to be a misread 54 per 1,000 (and thus the teen pregnany rate is falling), this meme is based on nonsense – Britain is not broken. When it comes to bashing the Government though, the Press don’t let facts bother them – as witness the fact that the likes of the Daily Mail kept banging on about the ‘risks’ of the MMR vaccine long after the dangers were demonstrated to be non-existant.
These imaginary scares have real world consequences. Just as the MMR hoax has lead to a totally avoidable measles epidemic, the ‘Broken Britain’ hoax has led to an irrational fear of teenagers which potentially has many more consequences down the line. If we treat all youth as criminals, ban them from socialising in public and put them on a 4pm weekday curfew, what sort of future society are we creating?