Pupil Kills Teacher Anne Maguire In Leeds: Calls To Treat All Schoolchildren As Criminals?
ANNE Maguire, 61, a Spanish teacher at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds has been stabbed to death with a knife in front of pupils. A 15-year-old male pupil is in custody.
Detective Superintendent Simon Beldon, from West Yorkshire Police:
“We would like to reassure people that this has been an isolated incident and there is no ongoing risk to pupils or staff at the school. The situation is under control and officers, including safer schools officers and members of the local neighbourhood policing team, are currently at the school and are liaising closely with staff. The rest of the school is continuing to operate as normal and we would ask that parents do not attend the site unless directly requested to do so by the school. Our enquiries are at a very early stage but the full circumstances of this incident will obviously be the subject of a full and thorough investigation.”
Steve Mort, the headteacher, says:
“We try to put our mission as a Catholic College into practice every day in the way we treat others within our community – together we work, learn, pray and grow.”
The Telegraph gives us some more facts:
According to Ofsted, 52 per cent of pupils achieved expected progress in English last year and 60 per cent in Maths – putting the school in the bottom 40 per cent of all schools.
Good to know. But relevant?
The buildings date back to 1968 and the site is one of the city’s ‘Building Schools for the Future’ projects. In 2010 it was awarded the International School Award by the British Council.
After the filler, we hear from an eyewitness:
“He just did it in front of everyone really. I was doing some science work. I just heard everyone screaming and running about and then we got told to stay there and told that a teacher had been attacked by one of the students… I did not expect it to be him at all.”
The Times adds:
Mrs Maguire, who had been stabbed a number of times, died later in hospital.
The incident will provoke memories of Philip Lawrence, a head teacher stabbed to death outside his school in Maida Vale, London, in 1995 when he went to the aid of a pupil being attacked by a gang.
Indeed, the killing of a teacher at a school in Leeds brings back memories of the murder of headmaster Philip Lawrence in 1995. He had gone to the aid of one of his pupils who was being attacked with an iron bar at the gates of St George’s RC School in Maida Vale, west London. Mr Lawrence, 48, was seeing his pupils off from school, as he did every day, when he spotted one of his students being hit over the head.
Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, adds:
“We are shocked and saddened to hear the news that a teacher has been stabbed to death at Corpus Christi Catholic College in Leeds. Our thoughts are with her family, her colleagues and the students of the school. Teachers carry a great weight for our society and we owe them so much. It is terrible that they should be asked to pay this price too. We know that the close community of schools in Leeds will rally round to offer colleagues their support.”
Is a campaign mounting?
Margaret Morrissey OBE, a former OFSTED inspector and founder of forum Parents Out Loud, has urged the Government to wake up to the fact that the UK faces a similar problem to North America in the weapon culture and violence which are rife in educational institutions.
Two deaths in 20 year is two deaths to many. But is treating all children as suspects a good thing? Surely not:
Mrs Morrissey said: “What happened in Leeds is going to terrify parents. Regardless of the circumstances a pupil has had a weapon in their hand in a classroom and used it. Violence in schools is very present in London, but I would not have expected this in Leeds. It shows that it is spreading across the country.”
Because Leeds is an especially peaceful place?
“We think we are not America, that we are not a country which has drugs, weapons and violence in schools – well I’m really sorry but we are and the sooner we admit it, the better. The Government must consider metal detectors. It is the only way you are going to resolve the issue of pupils carrying offensive weapons in schools.”
The Post has some facts:
Last year the D of E revealed that 8,030 primary school pupils aged five to 11 were expelled in the 2010/2011 teaching year – a rise of 15 per cent over four years. 550 pupils were excluded permanently for physical assault against an adult, and 470 pupils were excluded permanently for verbal abuse or threatening behaviour.
The Guardian adds:
Schoolchildren were expelled or suspended on 17,520 occasions for physically assaulting adults in 2011-12, according to the latest available figures.
We hear from Brian Lightman, of the Association of School and College Leaders. He….
….said it was “an isolated incident”, but questions needed to be asked “to make sure every precaution is in place” to prevent such things happening.
Hilary Benn, the Labour MP for Leeds Central, adds a note of sanity:
“Schools are places of learning. We want our schools to be open – we don’t want to lock pupils and staff behind high fences.”
Let’s not let a horrible story lead to a disastrous policy.