After reading the article ‘What sort of example is this to set our children’ by Levy & Davidson, published 23rd September in the Daily Mail I feel obliged to address my concerns to you. I believe the article has belittled teenagers and shone them in a negative light to the public.
The writers look down on girls wearing make-up saying they’re ‘caked with make-up’ and one girl is described by the writers as being ‘panda-eyed’. How do the writers think that girl feels reading your article? It is unfair and hurtful. If a girl wants to wear a lot of make-up, why can’t she? She is merely experimenting, something all teenagers do. The same girl is also picked out for asking a question, is it really so wrong for her to try and better her understanding of the question?
A very negative image of the school and its pupils is portrayed and a lot of situations written about in the text are taken out of context; a main example of this is when it says that teachers call students scumbags. If you actually watch the programme you can see that the pupils and teacher have a healthy joking relationship and he light heartedly calls them that as they leave the class. Speaking from experience, I know that having a teacher like that benefits learning because you enjoy lessons more knowing that you get on well with the teacher. I feel your writers have twisted this situation to make it seem as though there is an ongoing battle between students and teachers.
Another misrepresentation is the case of a girl called Carmelita. I feel that she is being used to stereotype all teenagers by your writers due to her confrontation with Deputy Mr Drew when he asks her to remove her hoodie. Carmelita reacted very badly by telling the teacher to ‘f*** off’, which I agree is an extremely bad thing to do but the writers have no idea of what type of person Carmelita is, they don’t know her background or situation which could have an explanation in to her behaviour and just because she reacts like that it does not mean that other students will. Also, I am not too sure as to why she has been named and the ‘panda-eyed’ girl hasn’t; how do the writers think Carmelita feels knowing that she has been targeted by the article and used as a scapegoat?
When the writers talk about future episodes they touch on the subject of a pupil who goes into care after his parents’ divorce. Given what has been previously been written it suggests that the child will be yet another victim of your writers. They describe him as ‘going off the rails’ a statement that trivialises a serious incident and it shows a real lack of sympathy and respect for a child who is evidently going through a hard time.
Your writers included a quote from Nick Seaton, a spokesman from The Campaign for Real Education where he states that ‘this school being considered outstanding doesn’t say much for the rest’. This is a completely unviable point and he tries to back it by using the fact that 67% of students passed last year with grades A*-C at GCSE. This entirely contradicts the point he is trying to get across as that is a relatively good pass rate and I feel he is being far too hard on the pupils as they are taking the exams at a point where a lot is changing in their lives and they do not need the added pressure. I hope after reading this response your writers take into consideration the teenagers feelings and will encourage them rather than put them down.
Courtney from Study Moose