In 10 years of teaching at an inner-city comprehensive school, I can remember only a handful of young people who have behaved significantly badly and warrant memory. Conversely, I have had the pleasure of seeing thousands of young people mature into fine members of their communities.
The problem of our media's propaganda was brought home to me recently by the refusal of a television company to commission a professionally cut piece following a group of 21 inexperienced inner-city teenagers ascending unclimbed peaks in Kyrgyzstan. Its reasoning was that the pupils' behaviour - supportive, caring, encouraging - was not in line with what makes good telly.
If one of them had an Asbo, a heroin habit or if team members had mouthed off expletives at one another, it would have been a certain hit.
What a joke! No wonder young people find themselves alienated from sections of our communities if this is the mindless, provocative drivel requested and regularly shown by our media.
We and they should be ashamed. For me, the cycle cannot end soon enough.
Mat Galvin Sheffield