Thursday, 19 October 2006

Zero Tolerance

Eldest daughter brought home a letter from the school's Attendance Supervision Manager yesterday (is that actually a real job with a business card etc ?). We were informed that she is to have half an hour's detention because she was recorded as being one minute late last week. (Yes - it is in bold on the letter too). I remember the day - there was a burst water main, traffic was gridlocked and I suspect half the school will be in detention.

The letter goes on to ask for our support for a policy of zero tolerance and refers us to the school handbook with its schedule of sanctions. The whole thing has an Orwellian ring to it - a mixture of pomposity, political correctness and brutal authoritarianism.

It is a metaphor for New Labour's Britain. And also very bad management. I think every text book will tell you that discipline has to be seen to be fair and to be proportionate. Otherwise you might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. Or according to the schedule of sanctions you might as well do something far more enjoyable for your half hour's detention like swearing or fighting. I'd know which I'd choose.

Anyway, daughter has learnt some valuable lessons. People in authority can behave unfairly, often talk absolute bollocks, and are then smug about it.

No comments: