Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Desperate Measures

1/. Desperate measures by the police.

Browsing around my local New Look store between 3-4pm on a weekday, and, as usual, commentary can be heard over the police radio. The police have this kind of set up repeated in most shops situated up and down the high street, and so all assistants and shoppers alike can readily hear what is being said. And if a message just happened to run on the lines of the following: ‘crackle (as the radio springs to life), confirming, man around 30 years, unshaven and drunk – pause – hooded – pause – carrying something bulky under right arm and heading down lower end of Market Street - pause - err, is now standing on pavement in front of the New Look store’. Well, wouldn’t you continue hanging around the sale rail to see what kicks off outside! Yet the policing of this quaint town does not include having to deal with street drinkers and vagrants, it is the movements of school children that the local police are monitoring most weekday afternoons here. Messages put out are something on the lines of: ‘girl - pause - err with blond hair, red hair band, orange bag, - with two younger boys aged’ bout 11 … heading towards New Look...’
I suppose it gives the police a focus, afterall, this is crime prevention at its most intense, but I am not sure if I understand how it can be acceptable for any of us to know that descriptions of our children are being brandished about this way, and their every move being monitored as if they were public enemy number one.

2/.Desperate measures by the schools.

Apparently, some schools have CCTV. The reasons, so they say is, to tackle the old age problems relating to school life such as:
1. bullying
2. smoking
3. truancy
That’s easy then, a camera installed at each of the following locations
1. in the playground
2. behind the bike sheds
3. at the school gates
That’s fine, but it is said that equipment is placed around the school vicinity without consulting parents, and I suppose we are largely unaware of the extent of surveillance practices going on. And so, how much then, do we think is being used simply to monitor the pupils’ movements and behaviour? Is this an invasion of their civil liberties do you think? And lastly, is it really necessary? Because the irony about all of this is parents are warned at the beginning of any school play or sports day etc. nowadays NOT to video record or photograph the children.

3/ Desperate measures by a session leader.

The permission slip: ‘Dear Parent,next weekend your child will be participating in the caving activity. Will you/or will you not allow us to take your child, untrained as we might be, in a cavern 20ft underground to attempt a full submerge? Declaration: I hereby give my permission for you to give it a stab despite the dangers and hold no charge if things go terribly wrong. Signed…………..
Tick the box if happy for your child to be photographed and for images to be included in any promotional material we might produce,(this we will use to demonstrate the great work we do.)

…and lastly on the home front, but not mine this time:

4/. Desperate measures by a Desperate Housewife

In the last couple of episodes Gabby has been home educating daughter, Juanita. Loved it when Juanita tells her mother that doing the ironing does not count as a lesson! When bribery does not work, Gabby resorts to enrolling her more than capable maid to do the teaching while she (Gabby) gets on her hands to scrub the floor.

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