'Hoodie' slur unfair, says commissioner

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
More teachers must learn to negotiate with their pupils through school councils and discussion - rather than telling them what to do, according to the children's commissioner for Wales.

Peter Clarke attacked leading authority figures for "discriminating and disrespecting" the nation's young in a keynote address to teachers and youth workers.

He called for an end to the term "hoodie" - used to describe children who wear tops with hoods - and said Tony Blair's latest "respect" campaign discriminated against many well-behaved and decent children. Mr Clarke, speaking at the TES Cymru-sponsored Wales Education Exhibition 2005 in Cardiff, said adults should be mature enough to realise that a fashion accessory was not always a sign of yob culture.

If adults wanted more respect from young people then they had to reciprocate.

School councils - a requirement in Wales from September - could help, but only where they are run properly and pupils have the power to decide their own agenda.

"Ruling through fear is not the way to gain respect and we must work towards negotiation as a way forward," he said.

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