November 20, 2006

How not to stop bullying

I’m normally a fan of Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary. But I can’t even stifle a laugh at his ridiculous suggestion today of fining the parents of school bullies up to £1,000.

The government seem to have a fascination with fining people for things, to the extent that you think it must all have been dreamt up by Gordon Brown in a bid to make more money.

But if there’s one way not to stop bullying, it’s by hitting people in the pocket. For one thing, it’s displacing the blame onto parents when the immediate issue is with their child. But it also breeds the idea that you can get away with bullying someone as long as you’re willing to stump up £1,000 afterwards.

A much better idea would be for community service for under-18s. Or to run courses for trouble-makers during school holidays.

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