Rude's not right

20th November 2009 at 00:00

I was shocked by the comment piece by Gareth Calway ("Taught a lesson in why discipline is out of our hands," November 13) - not at what he sees as the collapse of old-fashioned discipline in school, but rather by the complete contempt with which he speaks about the pupil he clashed with.

From his first throwaway description of the boy as "the wannabe star of the special needs class", it is clear how differently he views this child compared with the A-level candidates in the exam room. Even when the boy replies, "No," to the aggressive demand, "Can't you read?" it doesn't occur to Mr Calway that the pupil might not have realised there was an exam, since he couldn't read the notice. On the defensive and humiliated, he responds as many boys will in that situation - with rudeness. When spoken to rudely by staff who expect the worst, sadly some pupils live up to those expectations.

Jill Wallis, University lecturer and past secondary head of English, Aston Clinton, Bucks.

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