The long arm of the law is reaching further into the classroom and apparently to good effect. This week, The TESS reveals the impact of school based police officers in tackling Glasgow's gang culture; last week, we highlighted calls from Scotland's top drug enforcement police officer to embed drug education in every part of the curriculum, with a focus on the impact of drug addiction.
At St Mungo's Academy in Glasgow, PC Geoff Smith's targeting of gang leaders has helped break a cycle of violence that used to exist in the school. That pupils use the computer skills they learn at school to set up gang fights should come as no shock; these same skills are applied to other purposes outwith the classroom, from organising teenage parties to setting up bullying sites. The important thing is that police and teachers are able to keep up with pupils' websites and counter the consequences, whether they be bullying others or organising violence.
Many teachers complain that they are expected to fulfil the roles of parent, social worker and police officer, as well as educator. They should, therefore, welcome the involvement of other professionals if it means that they are given more time and space to do their jobs properly. Often, other agencies can offer a useful perspective be it the police view of how to improve discipline, or the content of drugs education.
Recent reports have suggested that sex and drugs education approaches which simply inform young people of the physical impact of high-risk behaviour have little effect. Approaches which take a stronger moral stance and examine the long-term effects on a person's life have more chance of changing behaviour. If one of the underlying themes of A Curriculum for Excellence is to be values, then teachers should not shy away from taking a judgmental approach.