The school I went to in Mansfield made the front page of BBC News the other day for all the wrong reasons - "Pupil murder bid" teacher held. That's right, a teacher (allegedly) tried to kill a pupil in a classroom in front of all the other kids. The shock I guess is that it wasn't the other way round. Pupil trying to kill teacher? Nah, no news there.
It was a good school when I (and Karen) were there back in the late eighties and early nineties, but, apparently, has gone downhill recently. When I was there I remember living in fear of the teachers, as it should be. Although I never thought they actually would kill me.
When we have friends round for dinner and I've had a few drinks I like to throw in a controversial statement or too, of which I have many to hand. One being that, since having kids, I've started to see what drives some parents to the point where they completely lose it with their kids. Obviously that doesn't mean I ever would (I never would!) but that's not the point. The point is you start to see what it is that might make somebody reach the point where they snap.
Being the son of a teacher who married a teacher who therefore socialises with a lot of teachers I get to hear a lot of first-hand stories about the way kids are in schools now and it sounds like a sad state of affairs whereby the kids rule and teachers live in fear of them. It doesn't surprise me one bit that it's reached the point where a teacher has completely lost it with a child.
When we first moved to Nottingham Karen worked in an "inner city" school. She'd come home crying every day. It got to the point where, despite not having another job to go to and it meaning we'd be stretched to our financial limits, Karen left - for her own safety if nothing else - and has never looked back.
It strikes me that something needs to be done to redress the balance of teacher/pupil power in schools. It's all gone wrong.