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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Suffer the little children to come unto me for I've been checked by the ISA

I'm delighted that a bunch of well-known childrens' authors, with Philip Pullman and Michael Morpurgo at their head, are refusing to cooperate with a body called the Independent Safeguarding Authority in being "checked" prior to giving readings in schools. It needs a case like this to draw attention to the damage being done to all of us by the all-pervasive belief that children:
a) survive their childhood thanks only to the ceaseless vigilance of adults;
b) are at most risk from the people who are set in authority above them;
c) can be protected from predators by a cursory records check.

I've been going into schools from time to time over the years in a professional and parental capacity. In the last ten years I've grown sadly used to the feeling that I am likely to be seen as a sinister interloper unless I'm properly badged and certificated and in the presence of a licenced teacher with a stun gun. It's that depressing presumption of guilt that Pullman is objecting to. I think he and his colleagues may bring about some change. Good luck to them.