EDITOR'S CHAIR: One terrible act must not turn our schools into prisons and our children into suspects

South Wales Argus: BEST QUALITY AVAILABLEFACE PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESKUndated handout photo of Anne Maguire who was named locally as the teacher who was stabbed to death at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 28 BEST QUALITY AVAILABLEFACE PIXELATED BY PA PICTURE DESKUndated handout photo of Anne Maguire who was named locally as the teacher who was stabbed to death at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday April 28

THE killing of a popular teacher in a Leeds classroom this week is a terrible incident that has quite rightly been widely condemned.

Ann Maguire was stabbed to death at Corpus Christi Catholic College, where she had worked for the entirety of her 40-year teaching career.

A 15-year-old boy arrested at the scene was charged with her murder last night and was due to appear in court today.

Mrs Maguire's death is an awful tragedy.

But there must be no knee-jerk reaction to her death.

Within hours of Mr Maguire's death, some people were calling for the mandatory use of metal detectors to scan children as they arrive at their schools.

This must not happen.

The Leeds tragedy was a killing that came out of the blue and could not have been foreseen.One senseless, random, violent act should not turn our schools into prisons and our children into suspects.

The reaction of the Leeds school and its pupils to Mrs Maguire's death was an example to us all.

Some incidents of violence at schools have led to substantial changes in the law.

The Dunblane shootings in 1996 led to improved security at the majority of schools, including door entry systems. This was a measured response to a massacre that ensured that schools did not become anti-visitor.

In most places, schools are at the heart of the communities they serve. It is understandable there need to be some security measures, particularly in areas of high crime.

But schools should not become no-go areas for visitors or places where pupils are subjected to airport-style security.

There needs to be a calm response to Mrs Maguire's death, terrible as it is.

In the days immediately after her death, the vast majority of pupils at the Leeds school were in attendance. That's because school, quite rightly, is where children feel at their safest and most comfortable with other pupils and their teachers.

It was the obvious place for people to gather and pay their respects to Mrs Maguire and we must never reach a situation where that changes.

  • One question I have been asked in the aftermath of the Leeds tragedy is whether the Argus would have named the 15-year-old suspect if, God forbid, the stabbing had happened in Gwent.

I had to think long and hard about my answer.

Despite many national newspapers and television stations saying they are not naming the schoolboy 'for legal reasons', publishing his name is actually lawful.

Juveniles only receive legal anonymity once youth court proceedings begin, but these restrictions do not apply before then.

So far only The Sun has named the boy. On balance, I would not do the same.

There may be no legal reason not to name him but there are plenty of ethical reasons.

We have no real knowledge of this child's mental state or of what caused him to act as it is alleged he did.

He also has a family who could be put at risk by the teenager's name being plastered all over the place.

If the 15-year-old is eventually convicted of murder then I would take the view that - as in the case of, for example, the killers of James Bulger - he should be named. But not before then.

Comments (6)

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10:24am Thu 1 May 14

Thor at the door says...

The Internet, tv and video games and bad parenting, along with a PC society are the root cause of tragedies like this.

If the kids were treated like kids ands taught manners, respect and how to be humble, the uk would be a better place.

At the end of the day most kids these days have a terrible attitude and the teachers, rather than discipline them, because they are not allowed to, have to pander to them and try to be their mate rather than an authority figure.

The police are the same, and this is what happens when kids and adults are exposed to constant negative influences and lack of discipline.

This is such a sad incident, the teacher was a great roll model for the kids, and this is her ending. My sincere condolences to her family. Rip.
The Internet, tv and video games and bad parenting, along with a PC society are the root cause of tragedies like this. If the kids were treated like kids ands taught manners, respect and how to be humble, the uk would be a better place. At the end of the day most kids these days have a terrible attitude and the teachers, rather than discipline them, because they are not allowed to, have to pander to them and try to be their mate rather than an authority figure. The police are the same, and this is what happens when kids and adults are exposed to constant negative influences and lack of discipline. This is such a sad incident, the teacher was a great roll model for the kids, and this is her ending. My sincere condolences to her family. Rip. Thor at the door
  • Score: 6

11:21am Thu 1 May 14

Realist UK says...

"But schools should not become no-go areas for visitors or places where pupils are subjected to airport-style security."
Why not? Aren't we subjected to this type of security at many other places other than airports? Try attending a law court. Why shouldn't teachers expect the same levels of security against feckless pupils who carry knives? The trouble with your opinion Mr Ward is that it takes an incident such as this before anything profound is done. There has been several instances recently of pupils involved with knives at Gwent schools, Duffryn & Oakdale being two that you've reported on. Who's to say there hasn't been many other incidents where schools have protected the name of the school by keeping such events under the radar? Teachers shouldn't expect to have their lives at risk while teaching the future of this country.
"But schools should not become no-go areas for visitors or places where pupils are subjected to airport-style security." Why not? Aren't we subjected to this type of security at many other places other than airports? Try attending a law court. Why shouldn't teachers expect the same levels of security against feckless pupils who carry knives? The trouble with your opinion Mr Ward is that it takes an incident such as this before anything profound is done. There has been several instances recently of pupils involved with knives at Gwent schools, Duffryn & Oakdale being two that you've reported on. Who's to say there hasn't been many other incidents where schools have protected the name of the school by keeping such events under the radar? Teachers shouldn't expect to have their lives at risk while teaching the future of this country. Realist UK
  • Score: 3

3:34pm Thu 1 May 14

Bobevans says...

Equally you do not ignore it
Equally you do not ignore it Bobevans
  • Score: 0

4:19pm Thu 1 May 14

Woodgnome says...

There is an imbalance here. If pupils think they can go into school with a knife (and we are told it is by no means uncommon) there is something drastically wrong with the way we are doing things. Another example of kids thinking they can do what they like.
There is an imbalance here. If pupils think they can go into school with a knife (and we are told it is by no means uncommon) there is something drastically wrong with the way we are doing things. Another example of kids thinking they can do what they like. Woodgnome
  • Score: 2

4:46pm Thu 1 May 14

Realist UK says...

Woodgnome wrote:
There is an imbalance here. If pupils think they can go into school with a knife (and we are told it is by no means uncommon) there is something drastically wrong with the way we are doing things. Another example of kids thinking they can do what they like.
They don't think, they know. As long as liberal attitudes toward education are continually promoted then teachers should ask the schools/authorities to supply them with stab-vests.
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: There is an imbalance here. If pupils think they can go into school with a knife (and we are told it is by no means uncommon) there is something drastically wrong with the way we are doing things. Another example of kids thinking they can do what they like.[/p][/quote]They don't think, they know. As long as liberal attitudes toward education are continually promoted then teachers should ask the schools/authorities to supply them with stab-vests. Realist UK
  • Score: 1

9:00pm Thu 1 May 14

welshmen says...

Until people who carry knives have a deterrent that's going to hurt them then knives will still be carried across the board, six months for carrying a knife is not a deterrent, I believe five years first time offence would be, discipline in our schools has mostly disappeared, we have to punish offenders hard through the Courts because knife crime sadly is on the the rise, so is gun crime, from knife to gun a short step and it happens.

Government must legislate for more time in Prison for first time offenders....We have enough Construction worker unemployed to build four prisons a year, just takes courage to put it into action....
Until people who carry knives have a deterrent that's going to hurt them then knives will still be carried across the board, six months for carrying a knife is not a deterrent, I believe five years first time offence would be, discipline in our schools has mostly disappeared, we have to punish offenders hard through the Courts because knife crime sadly is on the the rise, so is gun crime, from knife to gun a short step and it happens. Government must legislate for more time in Prison for first time offenders....We have enough Construction worker unemployed to build four prisons a year, just takes courage to put it into action.... welshmen
  • Score: 1

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