The Sun joins Ukip in monstering Roma gypsies and their ‘thug’ children
The Sun tells of “The gypsy thugs bringing terror to our classrooms”.
Beneath a photo of “Defiant, Lorraine Larkings and son Rhys, who was beaten up at school”, we read a “SUN INVESTIGATION By STEWART WHITTINGHAM”.
AS Gangnam Style blares out, a ten-strong crowd of Slovak gypsy boys march down the school corridor. One pulls a homemade knife from his sock and waves it menacingly at a scared 11-year-old.
At other schools similar gangs, some armed with knuckledusters, are also bringing terror to lunchtimes, causing violent fights in the playground and intimidating girls.
Shockingly, one 13-year-old girl was ordered to perform a sex act on a young thug in a school canteen.
A Sun investigation has found these events are taking place not in poverty-stricken Eastern Europe — but the North of England.
Taking a knife to school is not part of the syllabus. Rape is not part of the syllabus. Rape is also illegal in gypsy law. The Sun adds:
Roma gypsies are the most persecuted minority in Europe. They have every right to be here as they come from EU countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia.
We learn there are 19,000 Roma children in UK schools. And you’re ready for the ‘but…’.
One female teacher in the city’s Gorton area — who asked not to be named — revealed: “They can be very disruptive and want to fight all the time. They are just not interested in the lessons….One teacher in north Manchester claimed a Roma girl brought in a big kitchen knife to scare some girls. She was only 12.
Is that a uniquely Roma thing, scaring other children with knives and listening to pop music played loud?
Channel 4 reported:
Almost 1,000 pupils caught carrying weapons in schoolsover the past three years, including guns, knives, axes and hammers. Plus 550 pupils excluded permanently for physical assault against an adult in 2011/12, and 470 excluded for verbal abuse or threatening behaviour. And more than half of teachers, according to one union, have faced verbal abuse or threats from students.
If you add this to the tragic scenes from Leeds, where much-loved teacher Ann Maguire was stabbed in a classroom on Monday, it is no surprise many are calling for safer schools.
Sounds grim. But there is no information on the weapon carriers’ racial backgrounds.
But in fact, our schools do seem to be getting safer. The figures above need the context from the graphic: these incidents are, as local police in Leeds have described Ann Maguire’s death, “isolated” – if tragic. There are 8.2 million pupils in schools in England.
There has also been a slight decline in violence, according to recent statistics from the Department of Education. In 2009/10, 580 students were excluded for physical assault, and 630 for verbal abuse – these figures fell to 550 and 470 respectively the following year. In 2011, 365 pupils were caught with weapons in schools – in 2013, it was 250.
So. Some children carry knives and other weapons to school.
So. Knives in school is a rare offence.
The Mail added:
The results of Freedom of Information requests to the UK’s 52 police forces show that officers confiscated 981 weapons – including handguns, air guns, knuckledusters, crowbars and lead piping from pupils between 2011 and 2013. Eighty of the youngsters were primary school pupils, including an eight-year-old caught carrying a knife.
Detectives have also investigated crimes in schools involving acid, boiling water, cigarette burning and one concerning a rope. According to the figures released, between 2009 and 2013, the most common weapon used in school in the West Midlands was a brick or a stone although over that period there were 177 incidents involving knives and other sharp implements.
Like a compass or a Swiss Army knife, perhaps.
But what about those Roma, why are they being singled out in the Sun?
“When they first came here the children had never been to school. They were not even used to toilets, one had gone in the playground.”
Some British children just go in their pants.
In the Overcoming Barriers report, Ofsted said: “In the local authorities and schools visited, almost all Roma pupils arriving from Eastern Europe were new to speaking English… Schools initially had difficulty in engaging the pupils to adhere to school routines and to meet expectations for good behaviour.”
Inspectors also said police were asked to address pupils at a Derby primary following “a number of playground fights involving Roma”.
You can read the whole report online. We can read the Sun’s extract in context. It is also the same extract used by the Mail in “Schools struggling with influx of Roma children who can’t speak English”:
Where newly arrived Roma pupils have had little prior experience of formal education, schools and local authorities reported that initially they had difficulty in engaging the pupils to adhere to school routines and meet expectations for good behaviour. Conversely, Roma pupils who were well integrated into school and did not have interruptions to their education made good progress in their learning. [The Sun does mention that existing pupils are unaffected by new arrivals in a single line deep into the story.] However, their attainment remained low due to exceptionally low starting points.
School leaders reported that there had been no adverse effect on the achievement of other pupils already settled in their schools….
Senior officers at the local authorities told inspectors that it was difficult to accurately keep track of pupils from highly mobile families. This was particularly difficult at secondary level, where high dropout rates among Roma pupils were not uncommon.
The Roma parents spoken to by inspectors consistently said that they were reluctant to state their children’s ethnicity for fear of discrimination. This leads to under-reporting of Roma pupil numbers that, in turn, makes it difficult to target resources effectively.
And the report talks of those playground fights:
The schools and local authorities reported to inspectors that many Roma pupils initially had difficulty in adhering to school routines and meeting expectations for good behaviour, especially where the pupils had little prior experience of formal education.
Some of the schools visited had been successful in reducing exclusion rates with their Roma populations. For example, in the two Derby primary schools visited, the behaviour of Roma pupils was no longer a continuing concern and one of the schools had worked successfully with the local community police on behaviour. These schools reported a low rate of behavioural issues and racism and their exclusion rates were well below the national average. In one primary school where a third of the population was of Roma background, just four out of 26 sanctions issued for misbehaviour in 2012/13 were given to Roma pupils. Between September 2013 and February 2014, none of the 10 sanctions had been issued to Roma pupils.
Community police officers spoken to in Derby said that, in one of the primary schools, they found an ‘open door’ with the headteacher when they wanted to work with pupils. They were invited into school after a number of playground fights involving Roma pupils. They introduced a game to teach all the children the rights and wrongs of behaviour. A Roma-speaking interpreter was available who knew local families well and parents were invited to attend. The police also approached a local secondary school but, at the time of the survey, had not had any success. In the experience of the police, engaging with secondary schools was harder.
So. School is about education. And it works. Who knew?
But the Sun ploughs on:
Our probe found the greatest flashpoints have come in the south Yorkshire city of Sheffield, where the number of Roma pupils has risen from 100 to 2,100 in five years.
One of the places struggling to cope with the influx is Wincobank Infants — a typical, old fashioned British school.
A young mum, 25, whose eight-year-old daughter goes there, said: “There are just too many Roma going here. It’s madness that so many have been let into one school. There seems to be more Roma than British pupils. And because they don’t speak English so much time is spent on them. It’s not fair on my daughter’s education.”
The Ofsted reports points to a lack of funding and staff as reasons for problems.
There are worse problems at nearby Hinde House Secondary School… Former welder Edward Holdings, 70, who lives near the school, said: “I’ve had to clear up their mess after they’ve pooed or gone to the toilet in my garden. It’s all right for these politicians in Parliament to let them all in but they don’t have to live next door to them.”
Weeing in gardens. No British children would do that.
Parents of pupils at Hinde House claim gangs of Slovak Roma gypsies are terrorising their children and trying to “take over”.
“Claim”? What about the Sun’s “investigation”?
In October, rugby league fan Rhys Larkings, 14, needed hospital treatment after being attacked following a row over a football. Two 15-year-old Roma boys were later arrested and released on bail.
His furious mum Lorraine, 46, has now collected 1,800 signatures on a petition calling for teachers to do more to stem the violence.
She said: “Pupils have been mugged, stabbed and kicked. Recently a Roma boy brought a knuckleduster into school to threaten other pupils. They intimidate girls and look up their skirts as they climb stairs. It’s disgusting what happened to my boy.”
Mum-of-two Jeanette Vella, 35, says her daughter Abby is constantly sexually harassed at the school by Roma boys.
She added: “It started when she was 13. They’d leer over her and say things like, ‘Suck my d***’.
“I complained but nothing was done. It can be a scary place, but Abby is doing well at school.”
Teenage boys are idiots. You can read about them in the Sun. The girls can be stupid, too:
None of the chidlren in the stories above are thought to be Roma.
The Sun then looks for the voice of reasons It fails to find one and only spots Ukip’s Education spokesman Paul Nuttall, who says:
“I’ve been to one of these Roma camps in Bulgaria and the conditions are terrible. There’s no toilets and mud everywhere. You have to feel sorry for them. However, for people to blame cultural differences and say they are just not used to going to school is nonsense.”
It’s not. The Ofsted report the Sun quotes says cultural differnce are a factor.
“Schools should be able to expel these louts because everyone is suffering.”
No. They’re not. See the report above.
“Everyone who comes here should speak English, especially if they attend school, because it puts so much pressure on services.”
Teach your baby English, says Ukip.
That Ofsted report features:
Case study 5: One young Roma man’s story
Stefan and his family came to the UK via France in 2001 as asylum seekers from Romania, where they had faced persecution for being Roma. He was aged about seven. Initially, the family was held in a detention centre at Heathrow. After six months, they came to Openshaw in Manchester, where Stefan went to a primary school until about the age of nine, when the family returned to Romania.
‘Primary was very good – very supportive. There were regular meetings about my bad behaviour – fighting and name-calling – but they kept me engaged. I stood out at the school, which was mainly White British. I made friends out of my age group with younger ones – one White British friend was supportive. I was one of the first Roma settlers. I got called ‘Paki’ by adults and children on the street. I reacted and got into fights.’
When the family returned to the UK a couple of years later, Stefan’s secondary school experience was ‘totally different’. Other than lateness, there were no behavioural problems. He was a prefect, got reward stickers and acted as a mediator. It was educationally, however, much more challenging. Teachers were supportive but he faced problems from other students.
‘There was name-calling, racism, bullying. Five White British guys set upon me in the gangway. It was reported; a meeting was set up and the police were involved. The school could have done more. There were no exclusions; no punishments. It happened to other Roma pupils as well. I didn’t do as well as I could have done at secondary but I got enough grades to go to college.’
Stefan’s experience of college was much more positive.
‘No brawls or fights. There was maturity. There were disciplinary procedures which were followed if any one stepped out of line. There were exclusions which paid off. I succeeded at college.’
He still lives with his family,which has recently been relocated to another part of the city. The neigbours – almost all White British – are ‘very good,’ according to Stefan. He is now at university in Manchester in the first year of a business studies degree. He wants to start his own business in housing after graduating.
It’s a positive story. Children put away childish thigns when they grow up. Or they vote Ukip.
“The comprehensive system is not working. We should have vocational schools like in Germany, where some are not so academic but promote skills for people who are good with their hands.”
Be more like Germany, says Ukip.
We can laugh. But the Sun’s monstering of Roma is hideous. It also appears to carry a threat that the paper will back Ukip at the next election. If it does, it’ll be cutting its own throat