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Mixed messages

I found the views of Alan McLean (TESS, February 8) a significant contribution to the behaviour debate. As a teacher I am well aware of the need for good behaviour, as well as the crushing impact that misbehaviour can bring.

But I'm afraid I am perhaps a touch cynical over the latest initiative to tackle behaviour problems in schools. My cynicism springs from the mixed messages coming through in the past few months.

First, the message accompanying the statistics on violence against school staff seemed to be that verbal abuse, offensive gestures, aggression, assault and damage to property were unacceptable. But in the discipline task group's report I couldn't spot a clear, unequivocal message that violence in all these forms is unacceptable.

When it comes to indiscipline or violence, there cannot be mixed messages. There has to be a coherent, rigorous, joined-up approach.

However, I look forward to being shown that my touch of cynicism is unfounded and to clear messages that behaviour which disrupts education, harasses teachers and intimidates pupils is unacceptable.

Wholehearted support, not short-term window dressing, is needed to protect the innocent and bring about a change of culture.

Ian McCrone Hollows Avenue, Paisley

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