Racist at 8

When a mother turns up at your doorstep saying ‘can i have a word’, you immediately think ‘uh-oh’. But in this case it was about a child in school who has not only been causing problems in class but creating racial tension on the school bus. We live in a rural community with a few children from other ethnicities in addition to white British. In the four years my daughter has been at school, i have never heard a racist mark and she has been completely unaware that racism even exists in society, treating everyone as an equal, which is as it should be – its just adults that balls things up.

So when she hears this particular child call her black friends ‘brownies’, she is instantly offended because she doesnt like name-calling at all, least of all when it is regarding someone’s appearance. I am sad that an 8 year old child already holds these views and has obviously been influenced by ignorant parents.

But how do you undo bad views? The saying goes, ‘show me a boy at 7 and I will show you the man’. This child is 8 and his prospects are frightening. The best intentions of the Headmaster cannot undo years of negative behaviour from parents. If he becomes too much, what next? Where does he go?

I am already panicking about the implications on my daughter’s year group as they progress to the local comp….

Oh to be the mum of a toddler again…..

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.


apathy feeds tragedy

There are too many occasions when tragedies serve to remind us why we need to continuously question and examine the status quo.

The news today of a 12 year old girl called Keane who died when a wall at her school collapsed, is a tragedy that reminds the authorities what is sacrificed when apathy over procedures takes place. Risk assessments, health and safety policies, all what some people call ‘a job for a jobs-worth’ are there to protect people like Keane who shouldn’t die while in the care of the School.

My colleagues have been busting a gut today updating reams of policies to meet inspection criteria and the news of Keane’s death and how she died should renew people’s determination to ensure everything is thoroughly checked and re- checked.

I have learnt the hard way too often over minor issues when I didn’t listen to the doubt that was present at the back of my mind. This must have been the case with the faulty wall and I can’t imagine the torment in the minds of the people who put the task of mending the wall in the ‘Manana’ list.

What I can imagine, although it is too bleak to examine intently, is the grief of the parents who left their daughter at the school this morning and are now staring, with unbearable loss and complete bewilderment, at their daughter’s dark and empty bedroom and the items she last touched, a hairbrush, her pillow, a haphazard bed that was re-made ready for her return.

I am blogging every day for UNICEF, a charity that protects vulnerable children world-wide. If you would like to support the charity please click here.

Thanks for reading.