You've found Father McKenzie. But are you really looking for Eleanor Rigby?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The evils of hopping

The latest from the land of Tony and Cherie Blair: Cross-country running at school can breach a student's human rights.

Cross-country running in schools could be a form of child abuse that breaches human rights, teenagers have been told.

A textbook used in citizenship classes claims the traditional activity is a form of physical abuse.

The guide, which tells pupils their legal rights, suggests cross-country is as damaging as bullying.

PE teachers and health experts yesterday described the guide as 'indefensible'.

More than 30,000 copies of the book have been sold to schools across Britain by Coordination Group Publications, one of the country's biggest educational publishers.

The guide is targeted at 14 to 16-year-olds and designed for use in citizenship lessons, which became compulsory in secondary schools four years ago.

In a chapter titled 'Your Legal Rights', pupils are told: 'You have the right to be protected from emotional or physical abuse.'

The book goes on to give just two examples - bullying and cross-country

This reminds me of the horrors of the "hop" in Tomkinson's Schooldays, a wonderfully satiric episode of Ripping Yarns, poking fun at all things proper and British by Michael Palin and Terry Jones of Monty Python fame. Summary of the culminating "hop" event below:

"Finally Tomkinson is put to the ultimate torture: the hopping race, which no boy from Graybridge had ever survived. As he was on the point of death, he was approached by Grayson with a sniff of a certain interesting substance, and
perked up, and became the first ever Graybridge winner. He was welcomed back as the new school bully (Grayson having taken up an offer of a place at Eton), and
had the moral dilemma of how to reform the system.

He violently hits the little boy who congratulates him."

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