A Mandate for the Malicious

19 Aug

 The Register are covering the story of John Pinnington, a former headmaster who has lost his job because an enhanced security check revealed unsubstantiated rumours about him.

“A recent landmark ruling by the High Court takes the UK one step closer to becoming an “informant society” along the lines of the former East Germany or Soviet Union.”

I have no idea about the veracity of the allegations against Mr Pinnington, but the idea that someone’s life can be ruined by little more than tittle tattle is not only shocking, but against everything the UK legal system is supposed to stand for. I have children at school so of course I agree with security checks, but I’m more concerned about dedicated and talented teachers leaving the education system only to be replaced by those who are squeaky clean but otherwise second rate.

Teaching is a poorly paid occupation with, in many cases, a high level of stress and responsibility. At the time of writing, the profession finds it hard to recruit graduates with good degrees. Adding yet another disincentive will only serve to further deter the very people who would be of most benefit to young minds. Why on earth would these people want to teach when they can earn considerably more doing a job which does not expose them to the risk of public humiliation and ruin!

What is (or should be) of concern to us all is the idea that an individual is no longer considered innocent unless proven guilty – a system which has served us well for centuries – instead gossip and spite are seen as proof of guilt. In an ideal world, no one would ever make false allegations against another person. However, out here in the real world people do, even children. The law should serve to protect the innocent from such claims, not to give a mandate to the malicious.

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