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What a lot of stroppy teenagers in the news! Lydia wants to tease… - Sally's Journal
June 22nd, 2007
02:41 pm

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What a lot of stroppy teenagers in the news!

Lydia wants to tease sexually frustrated teenage boys by flaunting a visable symbol of her fundamentalist chastity and Kim thinks French lessons are so important that she should campaign to the Prime Minister, indeed almost as important as Performing Arts

So,

Kim's right to French

She should be allowed to take both French and Performning Arts
4(6.0%)
The school should rearrange the timetable so she can have lessons in both
1(1.5%)
The school should pay for private tuition in one
0(0.0%)
She should just make a choice
14(20.9%)
She should change school
1(1.5%)
The school should expell her
0(0.0%)
French is special
0(0.0%)
Performing arts is special.
0(0.0%)
She should be allowed to take any combination of subjects she wants, it doesn't matter that it's french
1(1.5%)

Lydia's right to her silver ring

She should be allowed to wear her silver ring
0(0.0%)
She should not be allowed to wear her silver ring
1(1.4%)
No-one should be allowed to wear anything because of their religion that they would not be allowed to wear were it not religious
1(1.4%)
Everyone in the school should be allowed to wear whatever they want (so long as it is safe etc)
1(1.4%)
School uniform looks cute
1(1.4%)
Wearing a silver ring... that was the third commandment after Do No Steal, right?
0(0.0%)
Christians arn't morally oblidged to wear silver rings
0(0.0%)
I'm glad I don't have her parents
0(0.0%)
Mmm, sex before marriage.
1(1.4%)

I am sympathetic towards the cause of

Kim
29(69.0%)
Lydia
5(11.9%)

Who has the better cause?

Kim
45(86.5%)
Lydia
6(11.5%)

Who would win in a fight?

Kim
38(77.6%)
Lydia
9(18.4%)


ETA: Here is a picture of Kim should that help you answer any of the questions. The BBC article linked above has one of Lydia.

(86 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
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From:piqueen
Date:June 22nd, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
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Some explanations,

I am sympathetic to both causes because I was a stropy teenager once.

Lydia will get over the ring thing but the right choice of subjects will have a wider impact on Kim - partly mitigated by the particular subjects which are not to my taste.

Lydia would win in a fight because she has God on her side.

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From:atreic
Date:June 22nd, 2007 01:51 pm (UTC)
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I thought Lydia would win in a fight because of her Silver Knuckle Duster :-)
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From:atreic
Date:June 22nd, 2007 01:53 pm (UTC)
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I had to choose between IT and drama and was gutted at the time. But in a year of 100 children, I believe that there may well be cases where it is physically impossible to give everyone exactly the choices they want. And I'm not sure bending the rules for the loud is always a good idea.

I'm not sure my absence of drama GCSE has made any difference to my life. Then again, I'm not sure having an IT GCSE has made that much difference either!
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From:emperor
Date:June 22nd, 2007 01:53 pm (UTC)
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I think the school to re-jig the timetable if it can. Otherwise, she should have to choose. Schools can sometimes be very lazy with timetabling and just say "you can't do that", when it could be timetabled if they tried a bit harder.
From:mtbc100
Date:June 22nd, 2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
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Of course, it can be hard to spot that it could be timetabled.
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From:atreic
Date:June 22nd, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
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You're right. Odd, it was working a minute ago.
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From:naath
Date:June 22nd, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
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Heh, I can't manage to answer the poll.

I think that schools should attempt to arrange the timetable such that most (if not all) combinations of subjects are possible. I thought this was one of the arguments for having large comprehensive schools? I realise that arranging the timetable can be tricky but my school appeared to manage to accommodate everyone's desires with only 90 pupils in the year (and, yes, that included some people who wanted to do both drama and French). Performing Arts is potentially a Useful Vocational Subject - I don't think it should be automatically assumed to be less important than pupil's other choices; I feel very strongly that pupils should have to take a GCSE in a modern foreign language and French is a popular choice... If the school can't manage the timetable perhaps a school that can (and is nearby) should be suggested or a she could be provided with some lessons at a different school. I'm assuming that she wasn't trying to take more GCSEs than can reasonably be timetabled - if she was then I think she should have to chose one to drop.

I mostly disagree with school uniform - I feel that telling people What To Wear without any *reason* for choosing those garments (some dress codes make sense - like wearing camouflage if you are in the army) is pretty stupid (whether in schools or in an office). I really dislike special exceptions to uniform policies - because I don't feel that it is the school's *job* to decide what is 'so very important that people should be allowed to wear it' - why should the school say "your belief is unimportant" to children who belong to small faith groups?

Given the existing uniform policy I don't see why she shouldn't be allowed to wear the ring on the basis that it is an important part of her belief (if she says that it is). Personally I don't see why it would be - the Bible doesn't say anything about such things but her belief is clearly not my belief, and I don't see that it's my business to tell her what she should believe.
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From:naath
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC)
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And on the nature of the SRT - well, no, I don't agree with it, I don't think it's a Good Thing and I don't see why people do it. On the other hand I don't agree with veiling, don't think it's a Good Thing and don't see why people do it... why should one thing be classed as 'religious enough' and another thing not be? If people are going to go on believing in these things then I'm just going to have to go on accepting that they do so and not telling them what to do about it!
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From:rmc28
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
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I think the school should either rearrange the timetable or pay for tuition elsewhere, whichever is less pain (and probably rearranging the timetable is more sensible).

My school split GCSE choices along subject area lines: everyone had to do English & Maths, Double Science or Single Science with Agricultural Science, one of Geography or History, one language, one arts subject, one design + tech subject, and there was an "extra" slot in which one could pick an arts, humanities, language or D&T subject. Somehow it all worked.
[User Picture]
From:uisgebeatha
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:03 pm (UTC)
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I can sympathise more with Kim- I studied French right through school, though my year was the one where they stopped making French/German compulsory for Highers. If there had been a clash I'd have scraped together the cash for private tutoring or whatever. It makes me sad to see that modern languages are declining. :(

WRT Chastity Child, has anyone told her, old as this source might be, that chastity is the quickest way to fall off the wagon? I'm surprised the SRT is still going; we were laughing at that way back in 4th year at school! Ah well, better get some marshmallows I can toast in Hell... ;)
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From:phlebas
Date:June 22nd, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
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Old and still misrepresented, it seems. The statistics in the article do suggest that people who've made a commitment to chastity are significantly more likely to screw up badly if they do, that if they do end up having sex they're more likely to have unsafe sex and end up with unwanted pregnancies or unpleasant diseases. But all that indicates is that if your aim is to reduce unwanted pregnancies and unpleasant diseases then the SRT isn't a good way to do it; if chastity were considered a worthy aim in itself it's less obviously a bad plan.
[User Picture]
From:pw201
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:04 pm (UTC)

This is why we can't have nice things

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If people are going to start litigating over this sort of thing, I think this country ought to follow the French in banning all religious symbols from schools.
[User Picture]
From:phlebas
Date:June 22nd, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC)

Re: This is why we can't have nice things

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You didn't think that anyway?
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From:neoanjou
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:07 pm (UTC)
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Subject choice is a complicated issues, and I kinda believe that fundamentaly you don't have a 'right' to study anything outside of the confines of what the school feels it is able to offer. Having said that this does seem to be a special case, or at least would have been back in my day when one was compelled to study a language (not sure if this is still the case), and if the girl was compelled into studing another language that wouldn't have been okay, IMHO.

Its also not right that mirabehn had to drop to single science in order to study music, but then again I have *huge* problems with the idea of both single and double science GCSEs in general. If a subject is compulsorary then it shouldn't infinge upon your choices for options.

WRT to the girl and her ring - its a bit bogus. She doesn't have a right to wear it any more than she has a right to wear jeans, its not a religious or cultural tradition. However if *I* ran the school I would be sympathetic and probably let her, but then again I'd be fairly liberal and allow most anything which didn't hurt anyone.
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From:nja
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
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As far as I can tell from the BBC report, Kim has a legal right to study both subjects (Lord Adonis is not one of my favourite people, but he probably knows his stuff here - although it's unclear whether the school could get out of it by offering her French plus another arts subject instead of performing arts). Whether she should have that right is another thing (probably not, I say, but I have the unfashionable view that early specialisation in education is sometimes a very good thing).

I think there is an important distinction between something like hijab (which many Muslims feel is a fairly fundamental part of their way of life) and a silver ring which is being worn as a symbol rather than as something which Lydia feels she has to wear. Having said that, I'm becoming increasingly hard-line about either having one school uniform for everyone with no compromises, or allowing children to wear more or less whatever they want. Otherwise you're having to judge the importance of someone's reasons for wanting something, and I don't think "God wants me to do it" ought to be treated as being more valid than other reasons children might genuinely have for wanting to wear certain things.
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From:lnr
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
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Kim: The article seemed to be suggesting that all schools must make it possible to study both the arts and a language at GCSE level. It's impossible to tell if the school had a different arts subject available which would not clash with French though.

Given it's probably easier to find other French lessons I think it makes sense to do the Performing Arts in school and sort the French out separately, regardless of which is "more important".

I'm sympathetic towards both teenagers. But ultimately I think Lydia's school is not out of order to permit things which are considered necessary for a faith but not permit this ring.
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From:catyak
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)
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If it is indeed a requirement that both languages and art are an entitlement then the school needs to revise its timetable to comply. As a stopgap they could fund external lessons, but that shouldn't be a long-term answer.

As for wearing frivolous jewellery in school, Lydia can wait until she gets home and then wear it. She shouldn't be having sex in school anyway.

D
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From:atreic
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
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If the school makes it possible for Kim to take eg Spanish and Performing Arts and French and Art, then surely the school meets its legal requirements without letting her do the subjects she wants?
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From:gerald_duck
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:35 pm (UTC)
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Can you please confirm that you mean "special" in the pejorative sense? If not, I need to change my response. (-8<
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From:enismirdal
Date:June 22nd, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I took it to mean special in the "French is a wonderful and fantastic subject and deserves special treatment" sense...
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From:megamole
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC)
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I couldn't do all the subjects I wanted to do at A-level (Chemistry, for example), and I went to what some would describe as a Great Public School with (non-subsidised) fees exceeding £10,000 a year in 1985. So money wasn't the problem; time was.

I was happy that I could do subjects I liked doing at A-level which left me with a pretty broad base (Maths, French, Russian, Latin). I didn't make anything like this level of fuss, and didn't feel the need to.
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From:angoel
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
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I believe that Kim should be entitled to study a language and an art at GCSE level. If the particular languages and arts that Kim wants to study clash, then she should choose a different combination.

For those of you who think that Kim should have the entitlement to study French, what would your position be if the school didn't offer French at all? What if the language Kim wanted to study was Klingon?
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From:neoanjou
Date:June 22nd, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
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French is arguably special in the sense that it is the arguable the mostly commonly spoken foreign language close to us (excluding Welsh, Cornish, Irish Gaelic, etc) and a language of great literature and philosophy - of course one could make similar arguments along the lines of:
* German is the possibly the most widely spoken first language in Europe, and a major language of late 19th / early 20th century science.
* Italian was the language of the renaissance.
* The Spanish language has some of the greatest works of contemporary cinema, and is possibly the widest spoken western language apart from English.
So basically - French is special, but only because we define it to be so.


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From:king_of_wrong
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:54 pm (UTC)
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The Silver Ring Thing has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity. Chastity, fine; flaunting your gang colours, no. Objecting to a uniform on the grounds of Leviticus 19:19, or to the canteen meals from Leviticus 11:10-12, is a different (but still very silly) matter and it might actually be newsworthy, but Lydia and her parents should get a life.

Kim's case is just piss-poor scheduling from the school. They can't reschedule on a whim - it's an NP-complete problem - and should not be forced to, but there's no reason why they should not make adequate arrangments. The simplest of those would be grouping subjects together, so you can always choose at least one subject from each category (sciences, foreign language, English, arts, humanities).
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From:angoel
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:57 pm (UTC)
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I think that noone should be exempt from the dress code, but that dress codes should be written sympathetically towards religions where appropriate.
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From:ewx
Date:June 22nd, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
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Kim's article should be titled "Schoolgirl wins fight for French and Performing Arts" - as far as I can tell she's been given the choice of one or the other, not told she can't do French at all, and is picking on that side of the choice for no obvious reason.

While it's doubtless inconvenient for her and ideally she'd be able to do both I don't think there should be an onus on schools to support every possible combination - it might simply not be possible. Though obviously I've no idea if they've put enough effort into this particular case or not.

At my school the head of maths thought figured out how to lay out the timetable by hand once they he knew what people wanted to do. I never heard of a case where some combination had to be ruled out but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

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From:feanelwa
Date:June 22nd, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
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Strangely, we had one of those and she was also a maths teacher, and a PE teacher.
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From:ewx
Date:June 22nd, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
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I wonder what the silver ring people would say to an atheist who wanted to wear one (i.e. as a chastity pledge not just accessorizing). I don't think I'll try.

"The real reason for the extreme hostility to the wearing of the SRT purity ring is the dislike of the message of sexual restraint which is counter cultural and contrary to societal and governmental policy," she added

That seems rather unlikely.

They do accuse the school of not enforcing the uniform rules regarding other jewelry, and if that's actually true, and not just a matter of not spotting the infractions, then I think they'd genuinely have something to complain about. Otherwise, well, if you're running a chastity pledge program aimed at children, either find something that'll fit in with a reasonable range of uniform policies or just put up with the children not being able to wear the marker all the time.

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From:ewx
Date:June 22nd, 2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and a blanket ban on jewelry does seem a bit of an extreme uniform policy, but it sounds like both the school and most of the parents like it, and it seems pretty minor compared to requiring specific uniforms, sadistic PE teachers, etc.
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From:miss_next
Date:June 22nd, 2007 03:18 pm (UTC)
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Just some thoughts here.

As you know, I've been chaste all my life (in the sense that I have never slept with a man I wasn't married to at the time). I can thoroughly recommend this lifestyle to others, as it saves a great deal of unnecessary angst and bother. I've never worn any visible symbol of it, but I can certainly understand why other people might feel a need to do so. (Whether or not it's appropriate to do so in the context of a school uniform is an issue that raises all sorts of knotty problems I don't intend to go into here, which is why, if you'll forgive me, I bowed out of the poll.)

For me, chastity is empowering. It's saying two very clear things: first of all that I do not need sex in the same way that I need, for instance, food or sleep. It is just a desire, and as such it is in its proper place. That sounds ascetic, but actually it is the reverse, because a person who knows that they do not need something is not going to be enslaved by it; because I know it is a desire and not a need, I am not going to find myself in a situation where I feel I absolutely have to have sex with someone because my desires are telling me it is essential. Some thirty years of adult experience tells me those desires are being economical with the truth.

The other thing, which is linked, is that it asserts that I am my own person. I am not there to assuage anyone's casual desires, and I make that sufficiently clear that nobody can delude himself into thinking otherwise. Sex with me requires the lifetime commitment of marriage. There are plenty of men around who aren't willing to give that: well, fine. If they know where I stand, they won't waste their time on me, I won't have my time wasted by them, and everyone is happy. It would be dishonest not to make my stance clear right from the start.

Now I realise full well that this is a minority stance these days, but nonetheless it is a stance which exists and should be respected. I tire of people who try to pretend that chastity is not possible. I am living proof that it is, and moreover that it can work extremely well if it is given a fair chance. Whether or not it is possible for everyone I don't know. I have never been anyone else to see. Nonetheless, I can say what I do know, which is that it works for me, and if it can work for me then it can also work for others. I can't be entirely unique.

I've perfected a certain expression which generally seems to get the point across. That one took me quite a few years. I don't think a silver ring is such a bad idea in the meantime... :-)
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From:king_of_wrong
Date:June 22nd, 2007 03:57 pm (UTC)
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I don't think a silver ring is such a bad idea in the meantime

You don't think there are potential problems in advertising your virginity to a bunch of horny teenage boys? None of them will take it as a challenge?

Or that identifying symbols are normally banned in schools as they lead to bullying? Admittedly, it's not as bad as wearing a Bloods (or Crips) bandana in the wrong part of South Central LA, but teenage girls can be cruel enough without giving them something else to latch on to.
From:mtbc100
Date:June 22nd, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
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I didn't touch Kim's poll because I didn't know how to read the should. I think that there should be drastic reorganisation of how education works, if necessary, to allow arbitrary combinations of things. I don't expect the school in the current system to be able to offer all students exactly what they want.

(FWIW my expensive public school came with a warning that you might not be able to study exactly what you asked for at GCSE, although I didn't actually hear of any cases where people couldn't.)
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From:arnhem
Date:June 22nd, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
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Lord Adonis?

I feel as if I've slipped into a satirical novel, probably by Evelyn Waugh.
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From:jy100
Date:June 23rd, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
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I think he's just one of the improbable New Labour peers, along with Lord Bach and Lady Scotland.
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From:simont
Date:June 22nd, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
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Kim: the school should arrange the timetable so as to minimise (within the limits of computational feasibility) the total number of (student, subject1, subject2) tuples such that that student wants to study both those subjects but they clash. Or, just possibly, the school should weight those tuples by some measure of the cosmic importance of the subjects in question (possibly, in fact, weight by the importance of the less important subject of the pair, since that's the amount of unavoidable suboptimality caused by the clash) and then minimise the total weighted sum. If after this process Kim is still in the irreducible minimum of clashes, then she should either put up with it or change school or pay for private tuition, but she shouldn't be able to hold the school responsible for the fact that it's unable to perform a mathematical impossibility. So who's in the right in this case depends on whether the school has already done its best to minimise timetable clashes and Kim is just unlucky, or whether the school has come up with a rubbish timetable which inconveniences significantly more people than it needs to.

Lydia: compulsory school uniforms are a silly idea anyway as far as I'm concerned and several of my schools seemed to get along fine without them. However, given that the rule does exist, she shouldn't be able to argue around it on religious grounds (especially given that it isn't actually a requirement of her religion). So nobody's really in the right: the school shouldn't have imposed the rule and she shouldn't be surprised and self-righteous when wilful breaking of it incurs punishment.

I'm sympathetic to Kim's desire to learn things she's interested in, and would support her wholeheartedly if it turned out that the school had been more useless than necessary in its timetable design.

I have no sympathy at all with Lydia's particular cause, although I sympathise in general with children who find school uniform to be an annoyance.

The photos made Kim look more broad-shouldered and also more grumpy, so I said she'd win in a fight. However, I may revise this given someone else's comment about the Silver Knuckleduster Thing, and also given that I've now noticed Kim has the egregious combat disadvantage of a school tie and Lydia doesn't :-)
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From:simont
Date:June 22nd, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and that minimisation exercise is also subject to constraints derived from the number of available teachers and the ranges of subjects they're competent to teach, and the number of available classrooms with the appropriate facilities. But I don't think that changes the objective function.
(Deleted comment)
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From:peredur_glyn
Date:June 22nd, 2007 04:01 pm (UTC)
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An interesting article about the girl and her silver ring, but something that interested me particularly in it was the school's response that it wasn't an integral symbol of the Christian belief, and ergo not permissible within the school fences. They then stated that a cross, for example, would be an acceptable thing to wear (if I understood the article correctly). But a cross on a chain, or wherever, is a Christian symbol because somebody started wearing one, not because the Bible says you have to wear it. Unlike the covering garments of the Islamic faith, it's not a 'law' for Christians to wear a cross instead of, say, a badge with a bearded shepherd on it or a WWJD wristband, or, indeed, a silver ring with a Thesaloneans quote on it. If the school bans religious trimmings, fine, but I don't see why it feels it can decide what acceptable and unacceptable ones are.

Still, I suppose if Lydia says the ring is a religious symbol for her, what's against Dave the Jedi saying his lightsabre is, or Mick the Pagan saying he has the right to be naked and have pentagrams on his face (OK, so maybe that's not what pagans do). An insitution has to draw the line somewhere. But I actually didn't know schools banned rings. My school, to my knowledge, didn't. Do you think they'd ban a ring if it was plain and of no great significance?

As for whiny Kim, the school should be willing to rejig the timetable, or make her do it in her lunch hour. Or, indeed, she could drop such a flimsy subject as Performing Arts and do some am-dram, which is much more beneficial all-round.
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From:feanelwa
Date:June 22nd, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
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Kim should for heaven's sake pick French, unless she actually wants to work in the theatre. My school made me choose between separate sciences and German and I didn't entirely lose the ability to learn languages after I finished my GCSEs.
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From:enismirdal
Date:June 22nd, 2007 05:46 pm (UTC)
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IAWTC

Also, my German teacher taught one student A-level German in her own free periods because the timetabling wouldn't permit German to be scheduled in any other way. Now that is dedication. Go Miss!
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