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Scourge of knife crime presents dilemma for schools

PUBLISHED: 12:29 12 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:09 07 September 2010

SOMETHING has to be done about the scourge of juvenile knife crime in London. New mayor Boris Johnson has made it a top priority, and in a recent interview with Capital Radio s Johnny Vaughan he said: I can t solve it on my own, but we can make a huge d

SOMETHING has to be done about the scourge of juvenile knife crime in London. New mayor Boris Johnson has made it a top priority, and in a recent interview with Capital Radio's Johnny Vaughan he said: ''I can't solve it on my own, but we can make a huge difference. Carrying a knife is not cool, it's wimpish and cowardly and in the end it does nobody any good.''

The mayor's determination to tackle this deadly craze has to be supported, though the reality is that contrary to his opinion, many teenagers do believe that carrying a knife is a cool thing to do. Changing that 'streetwise' mindset presents an enormous challenge.

In the meantime, it's important not to look upon every young person as a knife-wielding delinquent, though one can understand the thinking that has prompted Paddington Academy headteacher Phil Hearne to introduce metal detectors at his school.

It is all very well to criticise his decision but Mr Hearne has had to deal with the grim reality of knife crime. One of his students, Amro Elbadawi, was fatally stabbed on the Mozart Estate earlier this year, and he was principal of the London Academy in Edgware when 15-year-old Kiyan Prince, a promising young footballer, lost his life last year in a headline-making stabbing incident.

Every school must make up its own mind and before taking any decision, they would do well to follow Paddington's lead in consulting with pupils and canvassing their views about metal detectors and other preventative measures. The point is that if something is not done about knives now, how long will it be before schools are in the same situation as their US counterparts, and are having to consider ways of preventing the carrying of guns in our playgrounds as well as blades?


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