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READERS’ LETTERS: Schools need to stop turning a blind eye to bullying

Crieff High pupil Anna De Garis
Crieff High pupil Anna De Garis

Sir, – With regard to Anna, the brave fifth-year Crieff High School pupil who made allegations of sexism, racism, homophobia and other forms of bullying, I believe it is high time that this issue was confronted.

It went on 40 years ago when I was at school and I am sure many Courier readers will testify it went on a long time before that.

This problem is nationwide and can make lives hell for people as families will testify.

In my view, there has to be a national policy on school bullying with a civil servant appointed to be in charge of this brief.

Furthermore, each school should have a dedicated school bully officer whose job would be to deal with these issues and educate the children on these matters.

As regards the bullies, consistent ones should be sanctioned, such as exclusions. Parents of these bullies should be fined, after all it’s the way they have been brought up which is why they act this way.

Schools like Crieff High and other schools in Scotland need to get their act together. They clearly know it goes on but, like generations previously, turn a blind eye.

Steve Kerr. Gullane Place, Dundee.

Keep cyclists away from busy drivers

Sir, – Regarding the recent changes to the Highway Code, do we really want to go back to the good old days?

On the discovery of electricity it was thought by some that it would kill you, so let’s carry on using candles!

Do we really want to go backwards in time by all using cycles. What after that, horses?

Cycles are wonderful for exercise and fresh air, but keep them off our roads and avoid frustrating motorists who have to get from A to B on time.

F McMillan. Ethiebeaton Terrace, Monifieth.

Do not subsidise extremist views

Sir, – We were disturbed to read that Christadelphian Ecclesia, an extreme Christian sect in East Kilbride, has been spreading anti-gay and dangerous anti-vax conspiracy messages on social media.

The problem is that the group is entitled to tax exemption because, under current legislation, it qualifies as a registered charity due to its “advancement of religion”.

Memes depicting Covid vaccines as “holy cows”, armour-clad knights defending against “poison medicine” and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with the words “teach kids (proper) LGBT history”, will surprise no one, but they should not be subsidised by the tax payer.

Neil Barber. Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive.

PM strangely quiet on Chinese reactor

Sir, – The UK office for Nuclear Regulations has approved a Chinese nuclear reactor design which may or may not lead to a new Chinese nuclear power station being built in Britain but will almost certainly boost China’s chances of selling nuclear tech abroad.

The design is for a pressured water reactor which the UK regulator has been scrutinising for years.

The politics of Anglo-Chinese nuclear co-operation are fraught. The Shanghai-based China General Nuclear (CGN)company retains a 33% stake in Hinkley Point Station under construction in Somerset but Sinophobe Tory MPs have been trying to squeeze CGN out for years.

Not only have they failed, but there are no regulatory barriers for another construction CGN site in Bradwell, Essex.

Boris has kept this remarkably quiet but, hey, his new communication chief Guto Harri is a former lobbyist for none other than Huawei (remember them?).

Joe Biden will just love hearing this news, never mind the problems in Northern Ireland where the US is the guarantor for the peace process. Fly on the wall next time he speaks to Boris.

Some good news for Boris – maybe aye, maybe naw?

Ian Wallace. Chapman Drive, Carnoustie.

Bending climate science huge risk

Sir, – Charles Wardrop makes a serious scientific and historical error in comparing modern climate scientists to flat-earthers who disagreed with Galileo.

The Italian scientist was prosecuted by the Catholic Church in the 17th Century because he argued that the Earth revolved around the sun, rather than vice versa.

The ancient Greeks had worked out two thousand years earlier that the Earth was a sphere.

This was common knowledge by the time of Galileo. The criticism of Galileo was based on the Church’s misinterpretation of the Bible.

The Church wanted to believe that the sun revolved around the Earth and tried to ensure the science stayed in line. In that respect modern critics of established climate science are like Galileo’s opponents. They expect the science to suit their wishes.

Nobody wants predictions of disastrous climate change to come true, but wishing the problem away by fastening on to the small minority of scientists offering reassuring answers that allow us to avoid difficult decisions is taking a terrifying risk with our futures.

James Christie. Dryburgh Crescent, Perth.

‘Utterly confused’ Boris Johnson past his sell-by date

Sir, – It is disgraceful that our PM, mocked as “utterly confused” by Vladimir Putin for not being able to make a prearranged phone call because he was trying to extricate himself from the Westminster party scandal, has brought about ridicule on himself and by extension the UK.

Also, to make matters worse, the foreign secretary’s geographical blunder by saying “Britain was sending supplies to its Baltic allies across the Black Sea” has just allowed the Kremlin to pile more scorn on British politicians.

Is this then, during this very fragile and dangerous time for Europe, the leader we can rely on to help negotiate a settled outcome for Europe.

A man who made an internationally-binding post-Brexit Treaty which he had no intention of keeping. A man who has been sacked from The Times and Daily Telegraph for lying. A man who was implicated in a plot to have journalist Stuart Collier, beaten up. A man whose ill-informed utterances required Sir Keir Starmer to get police protection and caused Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s detention in Iraq to be extended. A man whose reputation is on the wane in Europe.

For El Pais in Spain, his “magic has vanished”. For Liberation in France, he is “the only actor in the Boris Johnson show – which is increasingly a flop”. In Germany, Der Spiegel asked how long can Britain last being governed “almost exclusively by defiant optimism?”.

No Boris Johnson you just will not do, you are past your sell-by date and it is time you are turned out into the bin of obscurity.

Ian Auchterlonie. Denoon Terrace, Dundee.

Buck stopped with Starmer over Savile

Sir, – When in charge of my companies I made decisions and also tried to delegate responsibilities – but, inevitably, when mistakes occurred guess who took the flak?

You got it. So how on earth is it different for the director of public prosecutions and the head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS)? Talking about Sir Keir Starmer, of course.

He was in charge when the CPS decided not to prosecute Sir Jimmy Savile which was clearly the wrong decision, so why is it wrong to remind everyone that the leader of the Labour Party, Starmer, made a serious error of judgment and should be embarrassed about it.

His allies claim he was not intimately involved in that decision, to which I would say – firstly, he was ultimately responsible and, secondly, it was not a small-beer issue. Savile was someone who rubbed shoulders with the rich, the famous and royalty – don’t tell me Starmer didn’t know what was going on in his offices with such a high-profile case.

If anyone should apologise it is Sir Keir Starmer, again.

Stan Hogarth. Young Street, Strathaven.

Be careful what you wish for on pensions

Sir, – You need to have paid 35 years of contributions to get the full UK pension of £179.60 a week.

You have no entitlement until you have paid in for 10 years.

This means at the date of independence most people under 30 would have no entitlement to a UK pension.

Someone under 40 who’d paid in for 20 years would have 10 years’ entitlement, around £50 per week.

The Scottish Government has committed to honouring current UK entitlements, so my advice to their target younger voters is… be careful what you wish for, whichever government will actually be paying for it.

Allan Sutherland. Willow Row, Stonehaven.

Government did not mandate door plan

Sir, – I find it difficult to write this letter, as I am still in stitches after reading Jane Lax’s letter last week, which lacks accuracy.

First, it is not the Scottish Government that has mandated the removal of the bottom of classroom doors, it is a local authority that has introduced this change. ScotGov, simply provides the money to execute the local council plan. Second, with councils repeatedly complaining they are strapped for cash, what better than a solution to the classroom ventilation problem which uses no moving parts other than a saw once (possibly powered), and has no downstream maintenance cost.

Fire doors are not intended to be affected, as fire doors are normally open and only unlocked to close in the event of a fire, so that story is another porky.

I would presume that the local council will have sought advice from their local fire and rescue service expert, and will be guided by their advice.

Third, the Liberal Democrat Party leader Mr Cole-Hamilton was advising that each classroom has a Hepa filter and ventilation system installed, to suck out air potentially with Covid virus load as the virus dies after some hours, and the filters may need replacing every week or so (my guess). I checked and Mr James Dyson offers a lovely-looking product costing £469. Others are available.

There are 5,000 schools with on average 30 classrooms, this equates to 150,000 Dyson devices costing a cool (only if you don’t ask for that option) £75 million. That could cut across the additional £20 benefit to lower-income families due in March.

Lack water and you can survive three days, then walking to get water becomes difficult to impossible.

Lack food and it takes about two weeks before your body has broken down your fat store and muscle tissue to stay alive. The fatter you are the longer you survive.

There are more than 150,000 families in Scotland in poverty, and needing help – thankfully, we Scots are up for helping others.

And I am now greetin’ at what I am typing.

Alistair Ballantyne. Birkhill, Angus.

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