Poverty is not to blame for looting by young people
An interview with one teen involved in chaos is a case in point of how schools have managed to fail young people for years, writes Katherine Birbalsingh
Published 14/08/2011 | 05:00
Over the last year, I have been arguing that we have a crisis in Britain: the behaviour of our young people is out of control. Many refused to believe my tales of chaotic classrooms, rudeness to teachers and lack of respect for authority. Last week showed how we were now reaping the consequences of teaching our children all about their rights and nothing about their responsibilities.
Think about it: these same young people who have been carrying bats, setting shops alight, stealing and beating people up, are also sitting in our classrooms, aged as young as 10. Do we think they are behaving themselves at school? Teachers have been predicting recent events for years, but no one listened.
Instead of holding children to account for what they do, we insist that the reason some children do not behave in school is because they are poor, or black, or live on a council estate. We also use this excuse to explain why they don't achieve. Now we are claiming that having a single mum or being on free school meals means you need to be a criminal, too. While no one is daft enough to say poverty excuses looting, some insist that poverty has everything to do with what has happened.