Eva Simpson: ‘Biggest weapon is to deprive kids of their wellbeing’


 Something is seriously wrong with our society if thousands of children, in the sixth richest economy in the world as we’re reminded on a daily basis, are bringing weapons into school  Pupils across Britain are taking in everything from knives, swords and knuckle- dusters to Tasers and hammers according to Freedom of ­Information data  A four-year-old, the same age as my son who has just started in reception class, was even caught with an unnamed weapon  These are horrific statistics which should be talked about at the highest levels of government But they’re not. And we know why. Because the people involved are disproportionately from poor and working-class families  As someone said to me the other day, if there was a train crash and 100 people were to tragically die, there would be an immediate government inquiry  But in the capital alone around 70 people have been stabbed to death this year and I can’t see anything being done to stop things getting worse  Daily Mirror news  The problems are well known – poverty, drug gangs, a climate of fear, but what are the solutions?  Home Secretary Priti Patel’s headline- grabbing solution is to put more people in prison But that doesn’t tackle the root of the problem.  The Health ­Foundation, an independent charity, has a far more sensible suggestion It’s calling on schools to focus on children’s wellbeing and teaching young people to be happy  Jo Bibby, the charity’s director of health, said more time should be devoted to lessons in art, drama and even yoga  Years ago I would have been sceptical about teaching ­children to chant ‘Om Shanti’ and how to do the downward dog But she could be on to something.  OK, maybe not about the chanting – I’d suggest cooking and more music classes But with ­children going to school feeling unsafe, with the trauma of knowing someone in your school or local area has been killed or even the increased pressure to do well in exams, schools should be focusing more on pupils’ mental wellbeing and giving them creative outlets  This should be backed by ­government support and money and go hand in hand with policies designed to make our streets safe and schools places where children go to learn Right now youth society feels like a ticking time-bomb when all we want is our kids going to school checking for keys and books, not whether they have knives on them

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