Not so cool runnings

Here’s a story you may have missed, a teacher has been sacked – for taking his kids sledging in the snow. The design class teacher, brought the sledge along (a high tech Scandinavian one with steering wheel and brakes) to show them an example of classic design, and then allowed a few of them to try it out later outside. His crime was that while he risk assessed it he didn’t do it properly, i.e write it all down, include factors such as what to do if a Tornado strikes, or there’s a terrorist attack, make sure they wore knee-pads, goggles, mask, helmet (and oxygen too in case the Earth suddenly stopped spinning and we lost all the atmosphere).

This is a double tragedy, a fun day out for the kids ruined (no one was injured) and a teacher who was clearly committed to his job has been lost. Getting kids interested, engaged and thinking is a difficult thing to do (but this show them a sledge & go sledging certainly sounds like a good idea to me)so this also sends a clear signal to other teachers not to do anything silly like be creative or use your own initiative or anything like that.

It’s often said that Health & Safety has gone completely mad, but this is taking it to another extreme. Kids come to school to learn stuff, and one of those is about taking risks, because risk is part of life. We’re going to end up with a next generation of kids who’ll instinctively be risk averse, insular, uncreative and expecting to be spoon feed everything (I’m already seeing element of this in lecture’s), not good for society. Remember the main reason why schools were closed recently was because the H & S crowd (maybe they should change their name to Safer Schools…..or “SS” for short!) were afraid kids might slip in the snow…of course the fact that mum had to stay at home and mind them, or they were just left unsupervised at play while she was busy would make everything so much safer.

Clearly we need to give all parents an ultimatum – if you want your kids to attend school you must waive your right to sue the school if you’re little precious Johnny ever gets hurt (which in many case may well be little Johnny’s own fault for not paying attention to teacher). Schools will of course implement as stringent and effective Health and safety policy as it reasonably can, but not without compromising its principal job – teaching. Any parent who is unprepared to waive such rights will be advised to rap they’re wee’in up in Styrofoam, lock him in his room and never let him out – ever!

Furthermore I would suggest a rule forbidding parents from dropping kids of ages 12 and up outside the school, or picking them up afterwards. They must walk from home, or the last mile or so to the school by themselves (to avoid the usual crush of cars at school times and teach the kids some independence) or better yet, make them get public transport or cycle all the way.


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