Letters extra: ministerial violence

25th May 2001 at 01:00

Everyone has a view on the teachers of today and few realise that we are performing as we have been told to perform - the buck stops with us whether we like it or not, fairly or unfairly, and we take it in our stride, in the name of professionalism, accepting the unfairness as inevitable. The Prime Minister is fortunate in his army of teachers, shrinking as we are.

However, when he chooses to treat casually an incident in which a government minister lashes out in response to an inane gesture in which he has been hit by a flying egg, it is time to speak up. This was not even self-defence: eggs are not harmful weapons. Are we to suppose that it is acceptable in the eyes of this government for ministers to use violence in defence of their dry cleaning bill, while teachers are expected to go through the stress of awaiting trial for defending themselves against violent pupils?

In The TES last week on the letters page was the question: does EastEnders block expression? A picture of the violent Mitchell brothers accompanied it. The answer to the question is plain. In a society in which government ministers express themselves with their fists, EastEnders seems rather tame. No, Phil and Grant do not stimulate children's vocabulary, but worsenbsp; than this is Mr Blair's cavalier response to John Prescott's performance this week, which will surely make violent pupils feel vindicated.

Susan Hall
Manor county junior school

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