Marshall's shout is easy on the ear

3rd September 2004 at 01:00
Children's commissioner Kathleen Marshall (page six) has brought a breath of fresh air into the political arena - or thrown fuel on the fire, depending on how you look at it. Not needing to attract electoral votes, Professor Marshall displays a striking combination of personal honesty with an acute legal mind. Not afraid to own up to smacking her own children, she admits the error of her ways in the light of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. She sticks to her principles while admitting past shortcomings.

This balanced approach should win her friends among children and teachers, and help her to serve children well as their representative. No child likes to be hit or shouted at, no teacher or parent likes to demean themselves or the children in their care by doing either. We all lose our tempers at some point, and the more we can own up to it - openly and in front of the children - the more mutual respect there will be.

Children's rights are undoubtedly now high on the agenda, as they ought to be. But, as Professor Marshall says, they are not unfettered.

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