Friday, 14 June 2013

Leader Comment: Censorship

As readers of this blog will have realised, we have taken action to evade school censorship. We have had to change our URL so the blog can still be viewed on the school Internet, and will do so again and again if need be. We carefully consider and edit every article published on this blog as to preempt any criticism from our institution.

The school uses a product from LGfL to filter Internet content so as to protect students from content that is harmful. This is why I was surprised when I attempted to visit this blog in school only to find it had been filtered, disallowing me to view the blog. There is no content on this blog that can be deemed harmful or defamatory to the school. Usually when a website is blocked through LGfL’s system, it lists the reason as to why this site has been blocked. For example, facebook and twitter are classed as Social Networking and Web Chat while anarchist’s cookbook is listed as terrorist material. But for The Trash, LGfL specifies no reason as to why it has filtered it. So why has it been blocked? Is this an attempt to restrict freedom of speech or is it a grudge-fueled action from an upset member of staff?

This blog’s articles tend to fall under two groups: the type that uses humor to vocalize student voice in the school or the plain and standard immature entertainment delivered through the use satire and spoof. Two assumptions can be made as to what the motive behind blocking this blog: either 1) the content on this blog is defamatory to the school and/or to its staff and students; or 2) the school feels that the true and frank expression of student opinion is dangerous to the school’s stature. If it Is for the former reason, I would love for the school to get in contact as I will and explain every post to them and tell them where they can shove their ‘Learning Together, Achieving Together’ ideas. It would be a brave move nonetheless, yet an extremely stupid one as well.  For that reason, we can rule out reason number one.

The school claims again and again that it listens to students needs and that it takes into consideration what students say and care about. This is utter horses**t. So much horses**t indeed, that findus' lasagne is bewildered. There is nothing the school does adequately to listen to students.

The school council is merely a show. I accomplish more in an hour playing Pokemon on the toilet than what they do in a whole school term. The school council is indifferent when it comes to representing and heralding the student voice. It is a disgrace and even puts real politicians to shame. The school has also introduced the roles of prefects and head boy & girl. Prefects stand around in their ghastly red cardigans assuming responsibility for f**k all, whilst the current and previous head boys and girls have done absolutely nothing during their tenures. The school magazine, as pointed out in previous articles, is not worth the paper it is printed on and does s**t all to voice student consensus.

So where is the student involvement? It does not exist. Because if it did, the school would have a ton of s**t on their dinner plates.  Through the ruse of giving students false and useless roles such as school Councillor and prefect, the school is able to keep a fa├žade of actually caring about the student opinion. What it really cares is to make our institution into an A* test factory, putting young adults on the government's shoddy conveyor belt of education. Why does it do this? Because the more students achieve that great accomplishment of five A* to C  GCSE qualifications, the more money goes into the pockets of the managers of the school.  That is why they don't want student involvement. At the end of the day, like extracurricular activities, this does nothing to boost our school in that disgusting game of local schools league table. 

The is a real irony brought forward by the school's actions, as the school praises itself as a “Rights Respecting School”. Is the school not aware, by censoring this site, it is actually breaching articles thirteen and seventeen? What a shame, I hope we’ll be hearing that the UN will bring forward some sort of sanction on the school for breaching our rights. But the irony continues! If you have bothered to read the school’s prospectus (don’t plan to, it's awful) then you would have gathered that at Hampstead School “all students are celebrated for the qualities they bring”. We didn’t get a celebration, we got censorship instead. And not even a sponge cake to go with it.

Today I celebrated that fact that it was my last day in A-level education. I had my last ever school lesson. I would be proud, however the school I am leaving is not the one I arrived at. It is a lot more dreary and dull. A factory for students to go in as individuals and leave as a c**t with only a mere, as Ofsted puts it so nicely, good education.

DISCLAIMER: This Hampstead Trash article has been written to critique the actions of the governing bodies of the school. This is so student readers can hear both sides of the argument, and formulate their own opinions on matters pertaining to their education.