Friday, January 12, 2007

School Hammer Attack

No sink school

I'm truly shocked by the news of the school hammer attack outside Swindon:

"A 15-year-old boy was attacked with a hammer at his school by an Asian gang. The pupil was left lying in a pool of blood after he was set upon by a gang of at least four Asian men at the Ridgeway School in Wroughton, near Swindon, Wiltshire, at around 4pm yesterday."

I'm shocked for a number of reasons. First, because I know the school. It was the first purpose built comprehensive in Wiltshire, and thirty years ago I spent a term there as a student teacher. And it is inconceivable that such an appalling thing would have happened in this semi-rural school then. An organised cold-blooded attack of the utmost brutality carried out by a group of adults on a single fifteen year old boy in the school playground. You can hardly find the words.

Second, I'm shocked by the reaction of the school and the press. It's clear that their first instinct was to conceal the obvious racial dimension to the attack - which is self-evident whether or not it was "racially motivated". The headmaster's main concern was that "he did not want the attack to damage the reputation of his school", while most of the initial press reporting (such as the Grauniad here) simply failed to mention that the attackers had all been Asian and the victim white.

Sure, you can argue that it's better not to mention such matters in case it stokes up further tension. But does anyone seriously imagine that word didn't get round Swindon in hours? What's more, as witnessed by the crowd of angry white parents forcing an emergency meeting with a reluctant head, not talking about it racks up the tension even more. Why, people even get the impression the establishment doesn't care.

The local BNP is having a field day. They say they're "standing up for local people", and are calling on the head to resign for trying to wish the issue away.

The law needs to deal with the perpetrators swiftly and firmly. Because out among the real people this case has already confirmed an awful lot of prejudices.

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