Friday, 14 October 2011

The Highs and Lows of High School Part 2: The Lows. What would you do?

Amongst the highs of A starting high school this year, we have already experienced some lows.

I have joined the Parent Council and a Curriculum Steering Group and so in some ways I am party to more information than most parents who do not get involved with the administration of the school and depend on their children for information solely. This can only be a positive things in terms of how we support A's education and how we support the school in their pursuit of delivering the very best service to all of the children that they can. I have to say that I have been so impressed by the school so far and their hard work has been inspiring. But at times, we are reminded that A has now entered another world. A world where outside forces come into play and life is not as cloistered as it was (in hindsight) at primary school.

This week there have been a few revelations. A knows of least 3 kids in his year who are already smoking. Smoking cigarettes at 12 years old. Growing up on a council estate with very little stimulus, this news ordinarily wouldn't surprise me. Given that A's school is one of the best in Edinburgh, this does. And indeed I saw this for myself when driving past the school at kicking out time one day. Only a street away from the main doors, kids were revealing their stashes and indulging in communal puffing. Lectures have been administered, warnings dealt and informative videos shown. I guess time will tell if he succumbs to peer pressure, like his Dad and I did at school. Then and only then can we really deal with it.

This week we also discovered a growing trend in the city for vandalising school bags. A was told by his friends that he should not being his white leather sports bag to school as someone would graffiti it. So he begged us for another bag and we found him a cool limited edition rusksack. This week someone, presumably while they were all walking along busy corridors, has taken a sharp implement and slashed the bag. We heard that this was going on in other schools but had yet to hear of it happening in our school. I took a photo and emailed it to the school The bag can easily be replaced but the rucksack was a heavy duty one and it would have taken something very sharp to have caused so much damage. The school are on the case but I was sharply reminded of the stupidity of teenagers again. Bloody kids!

I've also learned this week that there are drug dealers waiting on the kids walking home from school. A huge proportion of the kids know that this goes on and know where the dealers hang about and so where to acquire drugs if they chose. Apparently this has been going on for a while but the kids and the parents are too scared to do anything about it. My first reaction? I went a bit mental and emailed the school. I will be bringing it up at the next parent council meeting and I will be contacting the police about it. Other parents have looked at me in horror and asked why I am not concerned about repercussions. They are under the impression that some sort of gang-land vengeance will be dealt on me and consequently on the school for having grassed to the police. I come from a place where people and parents, can, sadly be passive due to the size of the estate, where no one speaks out about the constant supply of drugs or the dealers as a matter of self-preservation. At my high school, people would just hold their hands up and say "well...what can I do?". I don't really understand where they are coming from at all. It is not as if the police, if they were to catch them and take them in will say "Here is the name and address of woman who is responsible for your arrest". The dealers are waiting beside the school because it is a pathway for three other high schools the area to cross so are they targeting all of the schools.

But it has made me wonder if I am missing the severity of what I am getting into?

What do you think? Am I being bold? Would you speak out or am I playing with fire. I'd love to hear about your experiences.


  1. I think you're doing what a lot of people wouldn't have the balls to. And for that, good for you. I'd do exactly the same thing x

  2. Fran,

    I am so with you on this one. If no one challenges the behaviour then it will never change. I am frightened and shocked about what you have learned. The smoking I kinda expected, although that doesnt make it right, but the carrying of heavy duty knives and obvious dealing is taking things to a completely different level.

    We came from the same area Fran and yeh there was smoking, drugs and enough social problems to give a sociologist enough to work for a lifetime but none of us would want this for our kids and that's probably why you chose that specific school and area to live eh...this is truly scary stuff Fran I and I really respect you for going with your gut as a mother and saying what you believe in.


  3. I love you for commenting and even more for understanding what we went through. I'm amazed that we survived sometimes. xxxxx


Thanks for taking the time to comment!