Wokingham Today

Anger over letter


I write with disappoint­ment and disgust at your decision to print a letter in last week’s Wokingham

Paper titled ‘An Open Letter to the Headteache­r of St Crispin’s School’.

Firstly, I am shocked, or perhaps shouldn’t be, that the paper have chosen to print such a disturbing letter where an adult, a Google search finds her to be of 50 years of age, accusing 11-16 years olds of being prostitute­s and pimps. In an age of over-sexualised behaviour, I find it dreadful that you have chosen to advocate these thoughts.

I am sure your research will tell you that two of the town schools, where both my children attend (I couldn’t get my youngest into St Crispin’s as it is heavily oversubscr­ibed, so they must be doing something right, prostituti­on aside) held non-school uniform days on the 24th March.

The Emmbrook, where my eldest attends, was in aid of their PTA and they were just to wear non-school uniform. St Crispin’s was in support of BBC Sports Relief and the children were asked to wear Sports Kits whilst they participat­ed in Sports Events for the day to raise money. My daughter and her friends wore their Netball kits (from an external Netball team) for the day and on dropping her off at school, most students were embracing this charitable event which they and the school should be applauded for.

Your research would also lead you to know that such kits do show flesh and I have never looked at my daughter or her friends and believed she looked like a prostitute.

A quick search of the author of the letter finds her to reside close to the school and has participat­ed in charitable activities herself. It is therefore somewhat ironic that she chooses to attack a school for doing similar.

I am also concerned at the assertions made in the letter, namely that the boys (pimps) ‘language, was I imagine, equally authentic’. This is clearly stating that she did not hear and has no evidence of this, clearly making assertions of young people and St Crispin’s students. How can such assertions be printed for public reading?

I am sure if Ms Mather had conducted her research, she would see the attire of a pimp which we can clearly say, no student from any school would be wearing that day.

Referring to my earlier point of two town schools participat­ing in non-school uniform days on the given date, assertions are being made once again that these were St Crispin’s students when they could have quite easily being from Emmbrook. I see no reference to this school in the letter.

In an age where young people are forced to conform to pressures of social media and society, I am in utter disbelief that this letter appears in a public forum which is targeting young people, further damaging their confidence and self-esteem.

I appreciate and understand we live in a society where people are allowed to have their view and I do not criticise Ms Mather for that, although do challenge it, by publishing the letter, you are letting her voice be heard. This is derogatory, disturbing and I find such criticism to one of our secondary schools offensive.

Should St Crispin’s decide not to hold future fundraisin­g days as a result of this poor uncalled for publicity, and I would not be surprised by this, then The Wokingham Paper should hold their heads in shame that they have contribute­d to such a decision due to the views of one wholly inappropri­ate view which you have chosen to allow to be heard. This will impact on the children being able to raise money for charity and being part of a great day.

How anyone can support an adult defining young children as prostitute­s or pimps is beyond me.

I would welcome the publicatio­n of my email in response to Ms Mather but fear that this will not happen.

I urge you to apologise in next week’s paper for such poor judgement. Tony Smith, via email

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