The Weekend Australian - Review
THE LAST WORD
As the long-anticipated, “what could possibly go wrong” return to school gets under way in Europe, teachers are being warned to look out for rowdy behaviour among pupils struggling to readjust to life back in uniform. Fair enough. Historically such problems have always flared even after the six-week summer holidays, let alone a five-month break from the classroom.
The threat of being sent home for “fake coughing” is a bit much though. I suspect there are going to be enough kids dispatched for real coughing without adding to the childcare chaos by packing off the jokers as well.
Mind you, back in my day I was routinely ordered off the premises for allowing my hair to reach my collar. And for wearing the wrong colour socks. OK, so the socks in question were pink and black hoops — rather tasteful, I like to think — but even so, it was a bit drastic.
I got the red card for a succession of brutal bloody punch-ups in the playground too. But I suppose that was fair enough, given I started them all. Closequarter full-contact combat should not be tolerated, especially in the middle of a pandemic.
Still, I guarantee that in the next few weeks those already deemed cheeky so-and-sos will get themselves unfairly binned. Good girls and nice boys will be indulged in any misdemeanours. Bad lads will be summarily booted out for so much as a sneeze. My experience suggests that coming from someone with the wrong reputation, even a real sneeze will be construed as a wind-up.
Some schools also say that going to the wrong year-group bogs will be treated as a serious disciplinary offence. If memory serves, that won’t be something teachers will have to worry about: going to a loo likely to be inhabited by bigger boys was regarded as pretty much a suicide mission in 1978, and I don’t suppose things are different in 2020. Although those pupils being advised to bring two litres of bottled water from home may not have much choice.