With the expansion of the
Newspeak Dictionary Hampstead Planner came a new bout of worthless pages, which have existed in large print on the walls of our establishment for a while now, resulting in a waste of paper and ink. The only reason we haven't bothered to pick these posters apart before hand is because their flaws seemed so obvious. The writing was literally on the wall. However, with them clogging up an already clogged journal, we thought it time to point out the pure stupidity of these 'initiatives'.
We have already devoted an entire article to the Purple Pyramid of Progress (or the Grey Triangle of Chance to give it its factual name), the link to which can be found here, so we shan't go through that rigmarole again.
The first page we want to touch on can be found on page 8 of the Hampstead planner. The page talks about the school warning system, and how warnings range from “the teacher will remind” to “persistent misconduct will result in a third and final warning, accompanied by a more severe sanction and detention points”, which makes it a bit odd that the title is then “It's all about progress!” Equally, why would the 'more severe sanction' be accompanied by 'detention points', when detention points are only awarded after someone fails to attend their detention? Are they just assuming that any student who gets three warnings in a class will innately ignore the attention?
Now we turn to the HABZ page (27, for those following along at home). We have said in the past that the ideals outlined by HABZ are commendable, just sometimes the fashion to which they are executed is subject to criticism, the same way as the ideal of lebensraum being an aspirational policy of the Nazis, accept invading Europe and killing 12 million people in the process might've raised a few eyebrows. Neither do they do themselves any favours on this page. Apart from the obvious formatting 'quirks', there were several semantical errors (fully explained thanks to our sub-editor P. E. Dant) as well as some other problems. First, in the initial paragraph, it's not “we are a group of Hampstead student's here” because the students are not possessive of the 'here', they are plural, and so don't need the apostrophe. Secondly, in the same sentence, they say that they are “here to help stop and get rid of all forms of bullying” which, although praiseworthy, is a tautology. If you 'stop' bullying, it will cease to exist, and so we would be 'rid of' it.
Now, most of the advice they give is fairly sound, especially when it comes to cyber-bullying, if a little contradictory. They say “Deactivate your Facebook, Twitter etc. and don't go online for a few days”, which makes sense. However, later on, they say “Put your profile on private”, which can't be done if you're account is deactivated, and doesn't account for someone being bullied through text. So, to remedy this, below is our step-by-step guide to how to deal with cyber-bullying:
- Receive something constituting bullying
- Close tab
- Get on with something else
This brings us nicely onto the 'E-Safety' page of the planner (28 for the wastemen). The school manages to be notoriously bad, hypocritical or misinformed when it comes to giving advice about the internet, especially to an age strata of people that will always be more aware than them.
The first bold claim was that “File sharing can be illegal. Downloading of games, music and videos unless paid for is illegal”. Damn school with its capitalist agenda. The problem with the statement is that the vast majority of files on the internet are available legally free, such as, for instance, VLC Media Player, Google Chrome, Adobe Flash and the every past paper there has been (all downloaded files the school uses), and with that said, it has nothing to do with safety, as file sharing is only unsafe when downloading files more virus-ridden than a Liberian nurse.
We at the Trash are constantly happy that any files we share are free for use and download, and these can be found at Szemelileaks.
“Think about who created the website and the possible bias it may contain within the site. Don't trust anything you see online.” These jabs by the school aren't exactly getting less thinly-veiled, are they? Of course, any serious reporting we do is always backed up by sources, and we try our hardest to cite these in any article of that nature. By their own rule, however, it means we should not unquestioningly trust any claim the school makes online, namely on their website. Claims such as, for example, “Encourage our students to develop enquiring minds [...] in school for them to develop morally” Hmm...
Now we come to what we deem the quote that shows the school are antiquated old farts that know little about what goes “on-line”. They say “Our website is filtered so that access will not be given based on addresses, content and key words.” (Undoubtedly words such as 'Trash', 'Zaloom', and content such as 'satire', 'free-speech', or 'Wikipedia'.) Your website is filtered? Your website? Your knowledge of the internet is not even on a par with the collective knowledge of our respective geriatric grandparents, let alone good enough to impart these falsehoods on people, as the eSafety scheme attempts to do (poorly, evidently). If only there was some sort of educational department that dealt with things such as computing in the school that could help you with the correct terminology... Or even a group of technicians that could proof-read what you had written to make sure it was all true...
The school is, actually, talking about the filters that apply to their servers in school, not their website or their instagram (#NoFilter). This is the filter that they proclaim to be them stopping us seeing things that we “don't want to see” (even though most children are perfectly capable of accessing whatever these things may be if they really wanted to, outside of school) is not actually them at all, but something called Grid for Learning, which is a mandate from government that blocks a list of websites the government deems inappropriate for education, not the school. Of course the school are allowed to block their own particular pet hates on the local system (such as this blog), but they aren't exactly God's gift to child protection.
So, what have we learn't today, kids? Well apart from the school being hypocritical, delusional, under the fantasy they are intellectually superior (which you would hope they are), terrible at formatting, terrible at using a dictionary, terrible at giving advice and, at points, simply just liars, not much. Oh well, so much for the planner.