Police State on the Playground
Schools in the UK Ban Insults on the Playground
London Daily Mail | March 8, 2005
By Ben Leapman
Sexist insults are to be banned from the playground.
Teachers are warned today that words such as "slag" and "slut" lead to boys feeling superior to girls and make domestic violence seem more acceptable.
The call comes as the Government and the National Union of Teachers launched a joint campaign to reduce assaults in the home.
School staff will be encouraged to spot signs that pupils may be living with a violent parent and report their concerns.
And they will also be urged to intervene if they hear sexist language used by pupils.
The NUT lists unacceptable insults including "lezzie", "pro" and "your mum's a whore".
Boys should be challenged if they are heard directing such terms at girls. It is considered equally unacceptable for girls to aim such insults at one another. Teachers' leaders said such language is common in secondary schools and even among older children at primaries.
While some schools already take a strict line on sexist name-calling, others are more lenient.
Latest government figures show one in four women will suffer domestic violence at some point in their lives.
A leaflet circulated to schools says: "Sexist language and playground banter that seeks to legitimise violence against women should be challenged."
An NUT spokeswoman said: "Words like these promote the attitude that females are lesser beings, and as lesser beings they can become the target of violence. It doesn't have to be physical violence to be mentally destroying. We need to nip that attitude in the bud and get kids to treat each other with respect."
In further moves to tackle domestic violence, teachers of subjects including English and drama are being urged to use their lessons to examine relationships and gender stereotypes.
According to figures, victims of domestic violence suffer an average of 35 assaults before they seek help.
In many cases, women who live with abusive partners avoid alerting the authorities to the crime for fear that their children will be taken into care.
Campaigners claim that schools can play a key role by preventing the development of attitudes that foster domestic violence in later life, as well as detecting current victims.
Home Off ice minister Baroness Scotland said: "Domestic violence and bullying are closely linked, with both issues being about the exploitation of power differentials."
? Pupils could be given compulsory lessons on the dangers of chlamydia under radical Tory plans to warn the public about sex diseases.
Michael Howard said today that the idea would be looked at by a Conservative government as part of an overhaul of the national curriculum.
Mr Howard spoke out as he promised to launch a nationwide TV campaign to highlight the fact that sexually-transmitted diseases are now reaching "epidemic" proportions.
The move would echo the last Tory government's controversial "Don't Die Of Ignorance" campaign that highlighted the issue of Aids in the Eighties.