If you’re a school administrator these days, the last thing you want is for students to think for themselves — at least when their thinking fails to conform to liberal ideals. So when an eight-year-old told his teacher last week that he wants to “fight terrorists,” the school acted quickly and decisively.
They called social services!
Mark Atkinson, the father of young Rhys Atkinson, was summoned by the headmaster at St. Michael & All Angels School in Upton, England, according to the Daily Mail. “I … couldn’t believe what she was telling me,” the elder Atkinson is quoted as saying:
I was so much in shock I could barely speak. How could the school believe my eight-year-old child could be a terrorist?
Yeah, you read that right. The school decided that the eight-year-old’s wish to fight terrorists — which by the way he resolved to do after watching a news report on the Syrian refugee crisis — somehow meant he was on the verge of becoming radicalized.
But the city council’s “children’s safeguarding hub,” to which the case was referred, found other evidence to justify their concerns. They spelled these out in a letter to Mark Atkinson that included the advice “It has also been brought to our attention he [Rhys] plays a violent video game.”
The child’s mother denies the allegation. But even it were true, what of it? A longitudinal study published in 2014 finds no linkage between violent video games and youth violence.
Nevertheless, the director of children’s services, Julia Hassall, said an investigation has been launched: “We will be looking to get the parents, school and a representative of the multi-agency safeguarding hub together so that we can resolve what has happened,” she told the Wirral Globe, a local newspaper.
Says Mark Atkinson: “I think they should react to a young child’s naive comments like adults and not jump to crazy conclusions.”
That’s asking a lot.