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back to article Headmaster calls cops, tries to dash pupil's uni dreams - over a BLOG

An irate headteacher reported one of his pupils to the police and tried to scupper the youngster's chances of getting into university after reading a blog post that slammed his school. Jacques Szemalikowski, headmaster of Hampstead School in North London, refused to allow 19-year-old Kinnan Zaloom to come and collect his A-level …

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Anarchist?

left libertarian, please

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Thumb Up

Re: Anarchist?

I'm okay with that!

F.U., bricks in the walls.

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Re: Anarchist?

So another wannabe John Lydon.

I'm not one for the Potty Mouth. But I'm fully behind where people like Johnny are coming from and in my own way very anti establishment.

God save the queen

It's a fascist regime

They made you a moron

A potential H-bomb

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anarchist?

Anti establishment, or just out to shock at any cost? I'm pretty sure I know which one John Lydon is.

He does adverts for butter.

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Re: Anarchist?

course he does adverts for butter - he's trying to get the gullible sheep to all have coronaries prior to the anarchist uprising.

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Re: Anarchist?

Worse than that- he showed "ideologies of ... individualism"

We spend billions on education to prevent individualism this school obviously failed to stamp it out

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Big Brother

We Don't Need No Education

We don't need no thought control.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Anarchist?

Zaloom for Prime Minister.

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Re: We Don't Need No Education

"...In the last year he has become more and more enchanted by anti-establishment ways of thinking and has even said that there is an inherent risk that every government is corrupt..."

An inherent risk? - a damned near 100% certainty IMHO.

Generally though. if the quote above is factual that makes the ex-pupil sound like a very well adjusted and perceptive young man.

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Big Brother

Re: @Gwaptiva

"Anarchist?

left libertarian, please"

Not entirely:-

as Left doctrine favours massive state ownership, state control and very big interventionist government, and Right-wing doctrine favours smaller government, it could logically be argued that Anarchy is the ultimate in right libertarianism...

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Re: YAAC Re: Anarchist?

"....We spend billions on education to prevent individualism this school obviously failed to stamp it out." Has no-one else noticed the irony of the wannabe anarchists applauding the "individualism" of this dropout mindlessly rebleating the dribblings of other failures?

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Re: Anarchist?

So, UK is now collectivist by law? It sounds like the headmaster is working for GCHQ undercover and try to get as many people arrested at any cost.

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@Ted Treen

Very American ideas of "left" and "right."

Let's try for some education here. There are multiple important elements to the "left" in most countries. The primary element is social progressiveness. It is entirely possible to believe that we shouldn't segregate blacks, burn witches, kill gays and ban porn or bad words whilst also believing that people should be free to do as they choose.

To generalize grossly: "right libertarians" believe in the freedom of the individual to oppress, belittle, besmirch, harm, defraud and even murder others. Their brand of "libertarian" is all about the "right" of individuals to establish and then maintain control over those around them, by force of might, force of charisma or by controlling the means of production.

"Right libertarians" typically believe in corporatism and viciously defend the "fundamental goodness" of the corporate veil (the right to commit any number of heinous crimes as a corporation but never have the consequences come to bear on the individuals owning or running that company.) They are very darwinian: your rights should really boil down to "if someone tried to kill you, you have the right to try to kill him back." That can be literal killing, or corporate/financial/what-have-you phaliic measurement and bludgeoning.

"Left libertarians" are pretty different. They believe that we all have certain fundamental rights (typically those laid out in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights) and that no entity - not government, corporation or individual - has a right to infringe upon them.

Right libertarians view the UDHR as a restriction of their rights. Left libertarians view the UDHR as a definition of their rights.

Left libertarians are all about privacy, the right to power over one's own life and the right to determine one's own future.

Right libertarians are all about the right to power over the lives of others and the right to harm others for personal gain.

Then, in the middle, there are centrist libertarians as well as individuals all up and down the spectrum.

Being "left" does not equate to a belief in "big government." Most "leftist" nations (such as Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, etc) are in fact fans of efficient government. They want some government programs (health care, policing, fire services,) but don't feel the need to have bureaucracy grow exponentially. They also don't seen the benefit in a massive military industrial complex because they simply don't have a desire to go forth and control the lives and beliefs of others.

People on the "left" who would identify as "left libertarian" (which covers a significant chunk, and is probably the biggest bloc of "leftists" after the aging NIMBY brigade) simply want to be left alone. They have a "you don't bother me, I won't bother you" mentality about life....but they will work together when they see an obvious benefit from doing so. That's where you get things like functional universal health care systems, policing and a military that does peacekeeping and disaster relief instead of trying (and failing rather catastrophically) to murder a bunch of brown people for their oil.

The problem with "right" versus "left" as it emerges in our political systems is that politics is so messy. There are way more dimensions than "left" or "right." There are plenty of authoritarian docuhecanoes amongst the "right" or the "left" of any nation. NIMBYs show up amongst the left as the cockferrets who are against quite literally anything and amongst the right as those desperately clinging to a morality the majority of their own nations no longer subscribe to.

So yes, "left libertarians" exist. They can even believe in things like centralized health care whilst still believing in the importance of individual liberties.

Try - if you can - to picture people who believe that they should have the right under any but the most exceptional circumstances to do whatever they want within the law...but who also believe they are equal to and no more important than anyone else.

These are the kind of people who believe personal privacy is important, but also see the value in a health care system that uses triage to determine who has the greater need instead of money. Let's use this latter as a real-world example.

A common American gripe about Canadian health care, for example, is that it takes too long to see a doctor if you go to the emergency room or would like an MRI/other type of test.

Right libertarians would be up in arms saying that they should have the right to buy their way to treatment. Anything else is infringing upon their rights.

Left libertarians look at it differently. In Canada, for example, in ER or test selection there are trained professionals making decisions about need. The guy with the bullet holes or the lady about to give birth gets to see a doctor before the kid with the scratchy throat regardless of how wealthy that kid is. Left libertarians see this as fair and equitable; we are all equal, regardless of means and part of our "liberty" is that you cannot "jump the queue" simply because you have greater means.

Sometimes, you end up waiting a long time. Sometimes, the doctors even make the wrong call and someone dies because they didn't get treated in time, when they might have had the money to simply buy treatment in an American-style system. It sucks. It's not ideal by any means...but we accept that this is the tradeoff for a more equal system that respects the rights of the individual.

The alternative is the American-style system where people die simply because those with means (but whose need is less urgent) bought their way up the queue and there weren't resources available to treat the less well-off. Most right libertarians I've met don't view this as unfortunate at all; many proudly say this is "darwin in action."

So there you have it. A short - and grossly generalized - overview of the beliefs of a "left libertarian". You may now commence frothing and demanding our scalps. We're used to it.

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Re: @Ted Treen

""Right libertarians" typically believe in corporatism and viciously defend the "fundamental goodness" of the corporate veil "

What??

"Right libertarians view the UDHR as a restriction of their rights."

What???

" Most "leftist" nations (such as Canada,..."

What???

"right libertarians" believe in the freedom of the individual to oppress, belittle, besmirch, harm, defraud and even murder others."

Seriously ... WTF?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Ted Treen

Fantastic post Trevor. One bit missing about "right libertarians" is that they would wish to pay no extra tax for improved services but would pay for privilege. One could argue if they were to pay more tax they would receive better service, so that in itself is self defeating.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Ted Treen

This is a very common misunderstanding between libertarians and non-libertarians. The fundamental disconnect here is that whilst tax pays for many common goods, it also pays for large numbers of things that the libertarians find valueless and or actively harmful to them, hence wanting to be able to control what they are paying for.

Note that the things that a given person finds valueless or harmful can vary.

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Re: @Ted Treen

"To generalize grossly: "right libertarians" believe in the freedom of the individual to oppress, belittle, besmirch, harm, defraud and even murder others. Their brand of "libertarian" is all about the "right" of individuals to establish and then maintain control over those around them, by force of might, force of charisma or by controlling the means of production."

This is absolute horse shit. Libertarians believe that individual freedoms are sacred, and are the inalienable property of the individual. No individual is more important than another, and each has the right to defend their property from theft, damage. An idividual's life, health, minor offspring are considered their property. Thus all disputes between individual's may be reduced to a disagreement over property.

It's a simplistic doctrine, but one with some logic.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @Ted Treen

Yes, simplistic, but with logic.

Overlooks the fact that property is a social construct, constantly subject to redefinition.

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@Trevor_Pott

Trevor, what is the point of writing such a long detailed comment, when you make it crystal clear that you are heavily biased in favour of the "left" and against the "right"? Everyone who has "leftist" views will no doubt agree with you, and everyone who has "rightist" views will disagree. So what have you accomplished? (Other than to make an impressive display of your qualifications for the job of Grauniad columnist).

I prefer not to be classified, as I am mostly a free human being. But I suppose I could be described, loosely, as a "right libertarian". (I approve of liberty, other things being equal, and I also prefer not to fix what isn't broken). That being so, I find it strange to be told in such minute detail what I think, what I want, and why - by someone who obviously disagrees with me in almost every way.

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Headmaster

Re: We Don't Need No Education

Yes you do, you used a double negative.

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Re: @Trevor_Pott

@Tom Welsh I'm a socially progressive, fiscally conservative centrist with libertarian tendancies but who doesn't buy into the complete libertarian package. I despise the hard core of the "left" as much as I despise the hard-core of the "right".

If you feel that I've mischaracterised the "tribe" you choose to associate yourself with, maybe you should take a long, hard look at the end result of the actions of that tribe. I'm a journalist, Tom. My job is to cut through the horseshit and to say the things other people find uncomfortable to hear.

You are free to try to convince me that the social doctrines of "the right" aren't based on establishing and maintaining social dominance over any other potential "tirbe" if you wish. I don't know what you'll say that will undo a lifetime of taking notes and living amongst "the right" every single day of that life...but you're free to try.

The right are about ownership. Of themselves, of their family members, of material goods, property, resources and ultimately other people. It is all about those with the most means being allowed to dictate terms to those with fewer means and no entity being empowered to stop them.

Those with greater means are attracted to the right because of this. That's simple and easy to understand.

The left is generally about being left alone with undertones of cooperation to mutual benefit. Again, that makes sense, because it encompasses (and attracts) those who know they don't have greater means and likely never will.

The part I find utterly fascinating is the tendency for those with virtually no means - but who also typically have virtually no education and a lower than average ability to understand the world about them - to also be attracted to "the right." They are easily swayed by the social messages of fear and hatred. Even more are swayed by the (utterly false) idea that they can somehow become individuals of means by believing what those with means believe.

A historic meeting occur ed recently between a recruiter for the KKK and the NAACP the other day. The most interesting thing to come out of it was that many of the recruiter's most violently anti-minority recruits admitted to being 25% mexican.

Humans associate with those they feel will make them powerful. Many amongst our race have not come all that far past Ug beating Grog over the head with a stone so he can drag Mig down the cave by her hair, rape her and obtain offspring.

In today's world, those traditionally in power (fat old white guys, for the most part...a demographic to which I belong, by the by) are losing that power. They are becoming ever more radicalized because of it; doing - and saying - ever more stupid shit in the desperate attempt to retain at least the illusion of power. There's your "right wing" today. Oh, certainly an overly broad generalization, but it hits the biggest cross-section.

The "left", on the other hand are reactionaries to the core. Composed mostly of people without any real power over their lives, they value anything that gives them the illusion of personal freedoms. They value communal resource sharing because they don't have the resources to go it alone.

They also have a nasty tendency to spawn super-reactionary NIMBYs and a whole other cadre of authoritarian types who work day and night to take power away from those who currently have it. "If I can't be the dominant ape, then by george, neither can you!"

Both "sides" are fucking idiots, IMHO.

There are right libertarians. There are also a metric fuckload of right authoritarians. The exact same can be said of the left.

What nobody on either side wants to admit is that the entire thing is about nothing more than dominance, and dominance is about sex. The driving force behind all of this ideology really boils down to "how can I stick my cock into the Alpha female" and/or "how can I get the Alpha male's cock shoved into me?"

Some of us have genetic predispositions that guide us towards choosing various elements of ideology over others. (Conservatism being one of those things we can actually test for at a genetic level now. I wish we could test for left-style authoritarian NIMBYism, but alas, we've not even come close yet.)

All of us have cultural training that guides us towards the selection of an ideology.

The intricacies of the ideologies are complex. They are over-rationalised and evolve over time to counter arguments that have a chance of making the holder of those ideologies look foolish...but it still all comes down to nothing more than dominance. And cocks.

As almost nobody can actually bring themselves to experience that level of self-awareness nor actually choose their ideology with that understanding - and a through exploration of their own genetic and cultural predispositions - I look down my long nose at the log of you. Primitive, emotional, instinctual brutes, the lot of you. I keep a veritable zoo worth of pets and I respect the pets more.

At least they don't have to lie to themselves about what drives them. That is a clarity of purpose I do respect.

Now, if you want to say I'm "heavily biased" against "the right" you can go right ahead. Live in your little fantasy world where I'm the evil Canuck that just hates the right wing. That's a hell of a lot easier to believe and it fits with gut feel better than facts.

Meanwhile, reality gives zero fucks what you think or why. It trundles on and so do I.

Cheers.

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FAIL

Re: Pottie Re: @Ted Treen

All that ranting and all you basically said was "I baaaaaah-lieve left means automatically good, right automatically evil." Monumental fail.

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Anonymous Coward

Truth or consequences

All actions have consequences, regardless of whether they are true, or just opinions. Either way, constructive criticism is the way to spout off.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth or consequences

My father was a headmaster, I'm pretty sure that this action would have had one of his students either temporarily or permanently excluded. Constructive criticism, or even critical criticism, but you don't throw your opinions into Internetland peppered with Fs and Cs and expect to be treated with anything other than the contempt you are showing the people you are blogging about.

It's not as if the student has lost his A level results, they will be sent to him by the examining board. He has effectively been excluded from school, luckily for him, after his school career had finished. I also don't really have a problem with the head telling the Uni he applied to the sort of person that he is. If I'd behaved like this towards my previous employer I'd expect them to tell any future employer.

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Re: Truth or consequences

'If I'd behaved like this towards my previous employer I'd expect them to tell any future employer.'

The difference being your school doesn't employ you and given the vast sums of money you have to pay a university to go there it's more like they're your employee.

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Re: Truth or consequences

"My father was a headmaster, I'm pretty sure that this action would have had one of his students either temporarily or permanently excluded. "

Legal behaviour outside of school hours, off of school property could get you expelled?

"I also don't really have a problem with the head telling the Uni he applied to the sort of person that he is."

One should always denounce thoughtcrime - it's what BB wants you to do.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth or consequences

No so, your education is an important part of your career, try putting no schools on your CV and see how you go, or try to put loads of schools on because you kept getting excluded. Universities have limited places, they tout for the best possible candidates, what you pay may be eye-watering, but it's nothing like the full price of the course. A uni has a right to choose who it lets in and if you F and C your way around the Internet slagging off your school, that's unlikely to do your chances of getting on a course much good.

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Headmaster

Re: Truth or consequences

> luckily for him, after his school career had finished

I don't see that. He would have been luckier to be thrown out BEFORE his school "career" had finished (the retardation trip is actually called "career"? who knew...)

> If I'd behaved like this towards my previous employer I'd expect them to tell any future employer.

The uni is not his "employer": He is the "customer", you know.

Fracking authoritarians are everywhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth or consequences

Posting anonymously to protect the guilty. In this case my Daughter.

She put up an early version of a blog post on a bulletin board (another BB!) condemning her school and the fact she was not protected from bullies. The one and only time she fought back, she was the one disciplined. In frustration she wrote her comments. The bully found them and sent them to the head master.

She was given the choice of being pulled out or being expelled. It was a private school. This was half way through her GCSE years.

So yes, the school can and do punish things.

Lesson to all - no matter how anonymous you make the comments, if you don't want it to bite you ion the but later one, don't post it.

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Re: Truth or consequences

It's a pity she can't find solid proof of the bullying she wasn't protected from, so as to sue the school for that for a few million pounds. Clearly the government has not done enough to remind schools of the importance of addressing the problem of bullying.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth or consequences

"The one and only time she fought back, she was the one disciplined."

Good to see that in 30+ years nothing much has changed :-/ They tell you to ignore it and that that'll make it go away. Like fuck it does! And then the times you do manage to knee headbully in the nutsack, you are the one to get into trouble (but boy, it still feels great to have done that).

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Re: excluded

The word is expelled. Excluded, in this context, is yet another piece of insidious Newspeak.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth or consequences

Legal behaviour or liable, you choose.

As mentioned elsewhere a teachers responsibility does not cease at the school gate.

I notice that you can't enter into serious debate and instead suggest that it's like 1984, the last refuge of someone who can't actually argue beyond "down with this sort of thing." I'll just counter that it isn't thoughtcrime if you spaff your feelings onto the Internet and F and C about your school and their teachers. Thoughtcrime is inside, unacted upon, shouting your opinons to the world, isn't.

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Re: Truth or consequences

I assume you're not a manager. All the references that are asked of someone these days is confirmation of the position a person held and the dates within which they worked. Should I point out that the member of staff was late every day, left early, stole million s of post-it notes, then I could be in danger of being sued. The worst I can really do if asked for a reference - my refusing to give one is good enough signal.

It is not this headmaster's duty to point out to a potential University that one of his ex-students thinks Michael Gove is a c*nt. It's just bad grapes that one of his ex-students was not properly engaged enough in school to write a positive review. That headmaster sounds like a c*nt. Raising the matter with the police is ridiculous, and this has hopefully pulled an Eye of Sauron type spotlight onto his record and OFSTED results to see how much of a c*nt he is or not.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Re: Truth or consequences

The "being sued for negative references" thing is curious - surely that can only be done under defamation laws (i.e. libel), unless there's something else in employment law now?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: excluded

No, the word is excluded, it has been for decades, it has a very specific meaning and is not some new word.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth or consequences

No, it's a popular misconception that an employer can't make honest references. Many comapnies have this as a policy, but it's not law in any way. In fact there was something on Radio4 about this the other day, "Word of Mouth" if I recall correctly where they were investigating what you can and can't say about people. The BBC lawyer they were speaking to was crystal clear that you can be honest about former employees and there is no problem with that at all.

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Re: Truth or consequences

> If I'd behaved like this towards my previous employer I'd expect them to tell any future employer.

The late great Prof Fellgett told us that some headmaster had written something like this about a pupil who wanted to go to Reading to study Cybernetics and the department's reaction was "We must have this one!"

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Re: excluded

Yes, it has a very specific meaning but has been used incorrectly, as you say, for decades in the context of action taken against school pupils. The reason for this is exactly as described by Orwell.

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Re: Truth or consequences

I'm sure of course in theory you can make "honest references". It is just that you are running a big risk since your words do cause actual harm to someone else and thus you are liable to getting sued for defamation. Getting away with something like "He's late every day" would probably be easy if you've kept objective records. Saying something subjective like "He's lazy" would be a lot harder to prove and you run a significant chance he can make the judge agree your subjective assessment is not adequately substantiated and charge you the bill of his damages.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth or consequences

As mentioned elsewhere a teachers responsibility does not cease at the school gate.

Yes it does end at the school gates, once you are off the school property & outside of school time (ie not on a school arranged trip) then teachers & schools have absolutely no authority and no right to exert any authority over anyone

in loco parentis was not created for that & schools using it as excuses for such behaviour are making a mockery of the law and exposing themselves to legal actions should a parent decide to take any. It is not a blank cheque for them to do whatever they like to the children who they are supposed to be caring for, not punishing by extra judical means

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth or consequences

Anonymous to protect myself ;)

Was caught doing something similar at High school, including calling a few teachers some pretty unpleasant names.

Wasn't expelled, but did spend a day in isolation being made to write a letter of apology.

One of the teachers told me he wanted to smash my face in (his words) for dirtying his family name. My Maths teacher (one of the 'victims' and head of maths) moved me down a maths set as he felt he couldn't teach me (but still let me sit the higher exam).

Generally I had a pretty shit day the day they stumbled across my site, but all-in-all handled it reasonably well - they could have overreacted and kicked me out, but instead took a more measured response. They even opted not to make the reason I was being punished known too widely, given that I'd named a few fellow students (who it turns out, had gang links) as well.

Funny story, the teacher who'd said he wanted to inflict harm came back a few days later and asked if I'd considered Web Design as a career - he'd been crawling over my site in the meantime and was quite impressed.

So to me, this case is one of clear over-reaction....

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Re: Truth or consequences

This is where I tell my kids the opposite of what the schools are telling them.

The school's mantra is "If you're bullied tell the teacher, don't fight back".

Mine is, "It you're bullied, hit them back and hit them hard".

Bullies aren't bothered by what teachers do. They are bothered about getting a kicking.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth or consequences

"Thoughtcrime is inside, unacted upon, shouting your opinons to the world, isn't."

Thoughtcrime is an authoriy's presumption of your private thoughts - based on a biased observer's interpretation of other things that you do and say.

There was a time when you had to be careful how you raised your glass for The Loyal Toast. If it moved over your finger bowl then a government spy would be likely to report you for the Jacobite thoughtcrime of toasting "The King ....over the water".

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Re: Truth or consequences

I'm not a lawyer but as I understands it defamation claims are the primary risk but not the only one - e.g. various protections against discrimination/victimisation exist in employment law which could apply, as could the Protection from Harassment Act, or more unusual things like malfeasance/misfeasance and Human Rights challenges (e.g. I would have thought the right to a private life could be argued) where there is public sector involvement and so on.

Defamation claims are not something you want to be on the end of though. They are expensive (and often difficult) to defend and potentially expose you to a huge award of damages.

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Re: excluded

@Captain Hogwash - You are absolutely correct.

Technically it appears that "exclusion" is for under-16s only and requires that they be registered at another school. "Expulsion" is for 16+ and there is no obligation to find a new placement for the student.

In practice the distinction here is whether one is talking about the particular educational establishment (as might be expected), or about the educational system in its entirety. Any sane, rational person would assume it were the school itself given that the law already makes it clear that the state has a legal obligation to educate until the age of 16. The distinction in terms is therefore somewhat superfluous.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Truth or consequences

"I'm sure of course in theory you can make "honest references". It is just that you are running a big risk since your words do cause actual harm to someone else and thus you are liable to getting sued for defamation."

It's easy to write an honest reference without being unpleasant - it's all in the phrasing and hoping that the potential future employer can read between the lines.

For example; "A very personable and sociable member of the team" could be code for "Spends most of his time chatting with colleagues and doesn't get much work done"...

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Re: excluded

Excluded means for a certain amount of time then you go back.

Expelled is when you don't ever get to come back. (Sometimes they let you sit your exams these days.)

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Re: Truth or consequences

> you can be honest about former employees

So long as you are really sure you are being honest.

Can you prove that your records are correct?

Can you prove that the statements weren't motivated by personal feelings?

Can you demonstrate that there was no discrimination against the person?

Remember in a libel case you have to prove that the allegations you made were true - the person allegedly libeled doesn't have to prove they weren't.

Is it worth the risk to your business or should you just say nothing ?

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Gav

Re: Truth or consequences

The reason fighting back against a bully usually ends in the victim getting punished is all to do with knowing how far you can push it.

Bullies usually have years of experience. They know when and where to bully, and how far they can take it before authority has no choice but respond. Ultimately they are cowards, of course, but that makes them very wary of facing up to responsibility for any bullying. In short; they're good at bullying.

The victim, on the other hand, is usually useless at it all. They don't know when to respond, where to do it, or how far they can go. They're response is usually fuelled by desperation and rage and not calculated. It gets noticed, they cross the line where authority has to respond. End result is they get punished, when the bully doesn't.

What's sad is that the authority responsible is too bureaucratic, thoughtless or stupid to look at the bigger picture. Just what makes an otherwise meek pupil, who is never in any trouble, suddenly decide to take a swing at the class thug? Who is most likely to have initiated this situation? But they don't care, an example has to be made.

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