Sex obsessed and prurient. Who that? Why, teachers and their professional body, the General Teaching Council of England (GTCE), of course.
My attention was drawn, today, to not one, but two pieces in the Daily Mail of all places, underlining just this point. First up is a teacher – former music department head Debbie Lloyd-Jones – who faces being struck off for, inter alia, sharing a shower with teenage girls.
Come again? She, a woman, took her kit off in front of a bunch of girls, also women? Right.
Oh. I get it. We’re operating under the extreme Christian view of conduct here, under which humans are but one step up from animals and the sight of an unclothed body is guaranteed to inspire lust and a manic desire to wrestle the naked person to the ground and start interfering with their private bits.
Perhaps my view is coloured, in part, that I grew up in a private school environment in which personal nakedness happened from time to time. I remember one sadist of a PE teacher who took us on a x-country run during winter…and then terminated it by ordering us to strip off and roll in the snow. Apparently, this is meant to be healthy. The Swedes do it all the time.
Still. Any teachers. Any professional body – such as the GTCE – that finds nakedness in and of itself to be unprofessional conduct should, perhaps, examine their own consciences. Because personally, it is they who strike me as dangerous and deranged. There are many far healthier countries in the world where nudity is not seen as automatic precursor to naughtiness.
Announcing the scrapping of the GTCE earlier this year, Education Minister Michael Gove said that it “does little to raise teaching standards or professionalism”.
On the evidence of this case, it does far worse than that, actively intimidating young people out of perfectly healthy impulses, and setting students up for a lifetime of sexual neurosis.
In fairness, the Mail does report other allegations of concern. These include this teacher telling pupils she loved them, giving them gifts and telling them not to tell their parents. This only underlines the daftness of the GTCE’s focus. These are all serious issues and ones that should be aired and investigated. Given that, there is no need at all to attack nudity. Unless, of course, you yourself have a rigid puritan belief in the evils of the naked body.
Next up, the second story, also from the Mail, seems to follow closely in the footsteps of the above. Pupils at Bradley Stoke Community School in Bristol have been banned from wearing Miss Sexy branded garments.
These are unacceptable because of the way they ‘cling’ to girl students – making them ‘unhelpful’ to learning.
What a wonderful turn of phrase. Does the Headteacher mean that they cling so tightly that they, ahem, rub the girls up the wrong way, leaving them in a perpetual state of arousal – and therefore incapable of concentrating on their school work?
Or is this about boys allegedly letching at the girls, and themselves being so distracted by their own erections that they can’t concentrate?
Either way, we are once again back in the realms of the “beast”. Allow people one single whiff of sex – and all conscious thought departs thru the window.
I don’t believe it. Worse, it sets up a lifetime of excuses for abusers. Because of course, if we teach school kids, who later become adults, that where sex is concerned, how someone dresses may be “unhelpful” because it sexualises…and sexualisation leads to consequences because, well, it just does…we are also teaching that people, at some remove, are not responsible for their actions on the sexual front – and that if someone gets groped or raped, it is always, at some level, in some part their fault.