To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
99 messages

BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms

30 Jan 13 - 11:51 AM (#3473517)
Subject: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

I'm laying myself open to refutation- and that's fine. At my age I no longer mind being corrected. However, if my memory and/or experience is valid, there is a serious flaw in the design of elementary school rooms.

In the lower grades of school I don't remember a single schoolroom that had more than one door. That means that there is no way to escape if needed. There are windows, true, but windows by their nature are highly visible.

Hiding in coat closets is not only heart breaking but futile. I think every school in the country should cut a second door into every schoolroom. 99.99% of those second doors will never be needed but for those that are, it could mean the difference between multiple killings versus one or two.

30 Jan 13 - 12:29 PM (#3473535)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Megan L

Ebbie I can see your reasoning and will freely admit I can only recall one such incident in Scotland within my memory. However I can see a problem in the sugestion, where pupils can get through a door to another room so also could a gunman. This would mean that instead of an incident being rsetricted to perhaps a coridor or one classroom it could become a domino run of death and injury.

30 Jan 13 - 12:41 PM (#3473539)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bee-dubya-ell

My elementary school did have two doors on its rooms. In addition to their main doors, the lower grade (K-3) rooms had communicating doors to the adjoining classrooms and the upper grades (4-6) had back doors opening onto the athletic fields/recess area. The communicating doors were mainly to make it easy for one teacher to keep an eye on two classrooms in case her coworker had to step out for a moment. (This was in the days before teachers' aides.)

30 Jan 13 - 01:07 PM (#3473551)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Charmion

Classrooms in Ontario schools usually have two doors, both giving onto the corridor -- one at the front, opening into the space between the chalkboard and the first row of desks, and the other at the back, opening into the space behind the last row of desks.

I don't think that made any difference in 1975, when Robert Poulin attacked his classmates with a shotgun at St Pius X High School here in Ottawa.

30 Jan 13 - 01:12 PM (#3473553)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Some schools here have both, a fire safety help.

Like Megan, I can't see that the suggestion would deter the gunman.

30 Jan 13 - 01:20 PM (#3473555)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Backwoodsman

At my Primary School (ages 5-10 years) in the UK back in the 1950s, every classroom had two doors - one to/from the corridor (the usual means of entrance and exit) and the second opening to the outside of the building - the emergency exit.

30 Jan 13 - 01:30 PM (#3473560)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

The elementary schools with which I am familiar are in Oregon, both for myself and for my daughter in turn.

I like very much the idea of having an emergency exit outdoors.

30 Jan 13 - 01:35 PM (#3473565)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1

I think the safest thing to do is just ban school...It would stop an huge amount of children from growing up feeling bad about themselves, from having their childhoods taken over by Homework and Exam Stress...and they'd not have to endure so many teachers who seem to actually not only dislike children, but who also get pleasure from Ritually Humiliating them in front of their peers...

ALSO it would free children forever from having to be trapped in a hugely unreal situation of being ONLY with other humans of the same age, for school cuts them off from all other age groups...

I could go on, but I think I'd best stop there....

30 Jan 13 - 02:04 PM (#3473574)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Jack Campin

Fire is surely a far more serious risk than gunmen.

30 Jan 13 - 02:59 PM (#3473583)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Backwoodman

I enjoyed my schooldays. My first teacher died recently in her late 80s, I held her in the highest regard, and enjoyed our occasional meetings right up to recent times. Some of my teachers influenced me profoundly, and I remember them with very great affection. I was very lucky to have known them and been taught by them, and to have known them right through my life.

But I had a good attitude towards school and respected the authority of my teachers. In this life you get back what you put in - those who put nothing in get nothing out. And rightly so.

30 Jan 13 - 03:12 PM (#3473586)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

Lizzie Cornish, at the risk of raising ire, what are you talking about? Before public schools were instated in the USA- especially in western pioneer days - children were taught the basics of readin' and ritin' and rithmetic- and that is about all they learned. Is that what you are advocating?

30 Jan 13 - 03:30 PM (#3473596)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie

Bugger me. The virus spreads between threads.

Loony alert! Loony alert!

I'm with backwoodsman. School is a wonderful experience. My teachers helped shape me. Possibly helped me spot a GROLIES a mile off..

30 Jan 13 - 04:10 PM (#3473609)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bert

I think that Lizzie Cornish makes some good points. There is a hell of a lot more wrong with schools than classroom doors.

30 Jan 13 - 04:10 PM (#3473611)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Doug Chadwick

It would be cheaper and more effective to get rid of the guns rather than add more doors.


30 Jan 13 - 04:55 PM (#3473627)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Rapparee

Simply to deal with any potential gunman you could simply reinforce the doors and door locks, as has been done on airliners.

Fire, on the other hand, is far more likely. A second door would be a good idea, but only if it exited into another area than that from which the fire was likely to come. An even better idea is sprinkler systems and other fire suppression systems -- which I believe are already required in schools in the US. Windows from which signals to rescuing firefighters can be displayed should also be required -- not to jump from, but to signal from. Ask a firefighter.

Going back to the hypothetical gunman: the police do NOT want any more people running around than they can help (which is a cogent point against those who would allow college students to carry arms "just in case"). Reinforced doors (and walls if need be) with good locks would permit the police to clear the building quickly -- signal systems can and have been devised to indicate the status of people sheltering in a room. Ask a knowledgeable cop.

30 Jan 13 - 04:56 PM (#3473629)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Lighter

How do we "get rid of the guns"?

Not even repealing the Second Amendment would do it, because the guns would still be there.

A national military operation to confiscate the guns would result in bloody chaos and martial law at the very least. It would also cost plenty.

The current lockdown strategy may be better than the extra doors, if the locked doors could be made more or less impregnable, like the doors on airliners after 9/11.

But let's face it: mass school shootings are extraordinarily rare. A kid is far more likely to be struck by lightning than shot by a school invader with an assault rifle.

There are better arguments for more gun control than pointing to Newtown or Aurora. I don't think the time has come to station armed guards with their own assault rifles and body armor at every school. And then the nuts will go to the churches. And the theaters. And the malls. The armed nut will always find people to shoot, and it usually won't matter if they're carrying a concealed handgun because the nut will generally have the drop on them.

The best imperfect solution is to keep guns out of the hands of lunatics. Background checks at gun shows would be a start.

30 Jan 13 - 05:13 PM (#3473639)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

"But let's face it: mass school shootings are extraordinarily rare. A kid is far more likely to be struck by lightning than shot by a school invader with an assault rifle." Guest/Lighter

Yes, but for how long? If one wants to shock the whole world, where does one find the most vulnerable targets- and the least likely to fight back? In schools.

30 Jan 13 - 05:13 PM (#3473640)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1

Thank you, Bert.

Ebbie, I do not like schools. I think they cause far more damage than good and they teach the Human Species to Obey Their Masters and not to speak out or dare to question authority.

I find them deeply unnatural, for children should be with their mothers, not with strangers, herded into massive 'factory farms' where others decide WHAT they are going to learn and HOW they are going to learn it.

I believe that schooling actually kills of the Natural Learning Instinct that is inherent in all of us, for learning becomes Eduction and Education has been controlled by those in charge since the idea of Schooling En Masse first came into being.

In Home-Schooling children flourish. They learn what they love to learn, have no barriers, do not work to bells or timetables, question everything, have no homework, no humiliation, can be creative at all times, learn lying down, under the sun, or walking through a field...

School has dominated our Societies for WAY too long and very few question who invented it, or why it is still here...

The separation of parent from child is a very human thing, for nearly all animals keep their young close at all times, teach them what they need to learn to survive and raise them in family groups.

We have torn ALL of this apart..and our children have suffered because of it, many of them have suffered beyond imagination.

I too remember a lovely teacher. I remembered her more because she stuck out in a sea of spiteful, bullying, pedantic morons who took great pleasure in being mean to children, to me, to my friends...The good teacher shone out like a star.

ALL teachers should Shine Like Stars!
ALL teachers should LOVE children!
ALL teachers should want to pass on the knowledge they have to help others.

ALL teachers should have stood up against this foul system decades back.

Sadly, most will never do so.
And these days the Education System operates as it does because the GOOD teachers have, in the main, left, totally disillusioned in a system that now only wants them to teach to The Way Of Their Masters.

The whole system is falling inwards and the main casualities are the children...

Never have they been so 'educated'
Never have they been so 'switched off'

And meanwhile, those who run the system keep changing the exams, the this, the that, in the hope that New Ways of Doing Things will help. But they cannot see that school has run its course....

Of course, the tricky part is that we have now created a society where Mothers are either *unable* to care for their children, due to the fact they have to work full time to keep a roof over their heads, or, they don't care much about their children in the first place, being that we've down-graded Motherhood to be lower than a sewer...

No other species would remove The Mothers
But the 'most educated' species HAS and then they wonder why their children are drinking and drugging themselves to death...

Ken Robinson - Changing Education Paradigms

30 Jan 13 - 05:17 PM (#3473641)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1

Ebbie, after the Dunblane shootings many schools in the UK had a password-entry system put in on the main entrance door of the school.

30 Jan 13 - 06:22 PM (#3473670)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: frogprince

"In Home-Schooling children flourish. They learn what they love to learn, have no barriers, do not work to bells or timetables, question everything, have no homework, no humiliation, can be creative at all times, learn lying down, under the sun, or walking through a field..."

As a blanket statement, this is preposterous. There are certainly children for whom home schooling is by far the best, perhaps the only viable, alternative. But could anyone think that every parent, or set of parents, would have the skills and wisdon to provide such an idylic experience? In the U.S., at least some substantial portion of home schoolers are parents who want to prevent their children from learning to question their fundamentalist beliefs.

30 Jan 13 - 06:32 PM (#3473673)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bobert

Here's an idea...

Know those chutes that airplanes have for quick evacuation??? All school rooms could easily be altered to use the same idea with very little cost... Just need one window that opens like a hatch and everyone out in a matter of a minute...


30 Jan 13 - 06:46 PM (#3473676)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bill D

I can't remember a single classroom from 1st grade thru high school that had 2 doors... and very few in college. The cafeteria usually did, but that was a special need.
I see your point, Ebbie, but I sincerely doubt that it would make a significant difference in terror attacks. Sure, 2 doors in case if fire would help... and new schools might be designed a bit better.

I suspect that older schools in poorer areas need to spend that money on other things.

30 Jan 13 - 06:58 PM (#3473680)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

Lizzie Cornish, you don't think that a recent student would know the password?

I do not agree - at all - that schools are the problem. I know many home schooled kids, and almost without exception, they are bright, happy children. That is not the issue.

The point is that a great many parents are not able/motivated/educated/skilled enough to teach their children themselves. Besides which, most households nowadays require both parents' paychecks in order to survive. And that isn't likely to change any time soon.

Until the day that a parent can afford to remain home in order to teach their children - and the parent is aware of the importance of education - schools will be necessary.

When the idea of public schools - in the sense that 'public' is used in the USA - came about, it was largely the official recognition of parental shortcomings that fueled it.

Bill D - and others - I agree that in the event of a fire, a second door might prove more frequently useful in the life of a school but my primary thought is valid, I think. I visualise a gunman being distracted by some brave souls while the children escape the premises.

30 Jan 13 - 07:14 PM (#3473686)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Jack Campin

In the U.S., at least some substantial portion of home schoolers are parents who want to prevent their children from learning to question their fundamentalist beliefs.

The impression you get from homeschooling websites is that the whole lot of them are fascist nutters terrified that Obama will poison their children with vaccines.

But maybe that doesn't reflect reality. This survey gives a picture I didn't quite expect:

The differences in attitudes of homeschooled vs. school-schooled kids are in the direction I'd have expected, but they aren't large differences (perhaps in part because the whole of Texas is run by fascist nutters anyway). The one really dramatic difference is in how the kids cope with science, where homeschooling is a catastrophic failure - homeschooling parents simply can't teach it.

30 Jan 13 - 07:31 PM (#3473694)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bill D

Home schooling: a fine idea in certain, rare cases. Most parents are simply not capable- and often not available. The school system, with all its flaws, serves many needs. Basic school procedures and curricula need revision, not elimination. (Texas does come to mind)

30 Jan 13 - 08:39 PM (#3473718)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Don Firth

I thoroughly enjoyed school. Having had polio at the age of 2 and having to walk with leg braces and canes, I had home teachers until early high school. And although with the home teachers I had a great deal of individual attention, it was for a couple of hours three times a week, with them leaving me lots of homework. I enjoyed the whole process and I possibly learned better than I would have in public school, but—

When I was fifteen, it was deemed that, although I still walked with a leg brace and aluminum forearm crutches, I was secure enough on my feet to weather the halls of a public school. And so I was.

The company of hordes of other kids, a host of new friends, some really inspirational teachers (a few clankers, but wotthehell, that's life!), and all kinds of after-school activities (chess club, art club, a drama group), I had a ball!!

And not every kid went on to college in those days. But I decided that I wanted to. One high school English teacher from whom I took Creative Writing sent one of my short stories into the Atlantic Monthly high school short story contest and it took an honorable mention. She encouraged me to pursue writing, so at the University of Washington I majored in English Literature, specializing in writing. This stood me in good stead for a couple of jobs (copy writer and news editor for a radio station—in addition to being on the air as a newscaster and DJ, and a technical writer and editor for the Bonneville Power Administration's residential weatherization program) and I have free-lanced about thirty published magazine articles so far.

I still have a number of writing projects in the works, but my studies in English Lit and the U. of W. occurred before my serious interest in folk music developed and I changed my major at the U. of W. to Music, in addition to studying British and American Ballads with Dr. David C. Fowler.

AND in high school, among other activities, I got involved in the student drama group, which gave me a feeling for stagecraft and performing, and turned out to be a great help later on.


I hate to keep honking on Lizzie, but my message to her would be that, all things being equal, school is what YOU make of it. If you found school to be a negative experience, you might look in the mirror.


Almost all the public schools in Seattle are built very much along the same lines, and the vast majority of classrooms have only one door. So if you're corked in, be it fire or someone with a gun—not good!

The idea of armed guards in a school seems a bit impractical, considering that Roosevelt High School, Lincoln, Garfield, Franklin and the half-dozen or so other high schools in Seattle all pretty much have the same floor plan and layout, having three floors, covering four square blocks, one main front entrance and at least five other entrances, and four different stairwells. Roosevelt also encloses two large (basketball court-size) gymnasiums, one small gymnasium, and a 450 seat full-featured theater / concert hall with a full stage complete with backstage and dressing rooms.

It would take a battalion of armed guards to cover the school adequately. Not practical. And apart from screening people going in and out like airport security, which, with a student body averaging around 1,500, all rushing to get to class on time—

No. Another solution is needed.

Don Firth

30 Jan 13 - 09:06 PM (#3473729)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Stim

Actually, Jack, home school parents often co-ordinate withprivate and charter schools that offer individual classes in math and science.--they also co-ordinate with other home school families to provide activities like sports, chorus, band/orchestra. There are a lot of resources available.

Also, even though it is is true that many home school families have what some may consider fundamentalist religious beliefs, often they pull their kids out of the public schools to protect them from teasing, bullying, and other sorts of intolerance, as expressed by Lizzie, above.

As BillD points out, it isn't something that most parents can manage to provide. Our school systems, and our ideas about public education, need to be seriously reconsidered, but I'm not holding my breath.

30 Jan 13 - 10:04 PM (#3473739)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Rapparee

You know, there really isn't a good answer to this problem and never has been. You need to find a proportion between cost, usage, safety, and a host of other things. Think of your own home -- do you have a secondary escape route you can use in case of fire, especially if your bedroom is not on the ground floor? Are there windowless rooms, such as a toilet or a laundry room, where you could be trapped? Do you even have a fire extinguisher, and if so, have you checked it recently?

I worked for years in public buildings (libraries). We were required by law to have fire suppression systems, emergency evacuation routes posted, fire doors, fire escapes, and other safety features. Yet if fire escapes are blocked, as in Brazil just a couple days ago....

A fire and a shooting situation have many similar characteristics. Both involve immediate danger, both have the potential to take many lives, and both require effective pre-planning AND continued oversight to prevent the "blocked fire escape."

This is true of ALL public buildings -- theaters, malls, schools, restaurants, nightclubs, churches, court houses -- ALL public buildings.

The Our Lady of the Angels School Fire broke out shortly before classes were to be dismissed on December 1, 1958, at the foot of a stairway in the Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago, Illinois. The elementary school was operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. A total of 92 pupils and 3 nuns lost their lives when smoke, heat, and fire cut off their normal means of escape through corridors and stairways. Many more were injured when they jumped from second-floor windows (which were as high as a third floor would be on level ground). (Wikipedia)

This school was, for the time, in complete compliance with all fire codes. Today, by far and away the single greatest cause for school fires is arson (according to the US Fire Administration of FEMA). Fortunately school fires today rarely cause injuries or fatalities.

Schools are in many ways safer than your home....

30 Jan 13 - 11:20 PM (#3473752)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

Incidentally, it really bothers me when anyone speaks of "JUMPING out of windows." NEVER, NEVER jump. ALWAYS drop.

31 Jan 13 - 03:57 AM (#3473792)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1

"We have to help children and the way to do that is to make exams more rigorous.." stated by some dangerous prat from The Institute of Directors on BBC News this morning on 'the new idea' of creating the 'English Baccalaureate' to replace GCSEs.

Oh, fook, WHERE do I even START with this one!!!!! I'll let Pink Floyd say it all for me...........

Right, load the entire Institute of Directors into the hold and ship 'em off to Feckers Island!

And please, do not believe the *neutralizing* of Home Schoolers that you are fed. You will always get the odd nutter here and there, but you do amongst teachers too. There are many teachers who LOATHE children and who do much damage to them, damage which, for some children, will last their whole life long. So please, do NOT give me that sanctimonious crap of School Is Wonderful, because it ain't.

And all those who run schools or who desire the factory fodder they are supposed to produce want, is good little workers who don't question, who see 'Life' as being ALL about WORK and NOTHING else!

Well, I was Born Free as were my children, and having tried the Edukashun System we chose Freedom....and it worked, believe it or not...although I just wish I'd taken my daughter out far sooner than I did, but I, like so many others, thought you were not 'allowed' to home-educate, because, of course, you are NEVER informed there is an alternative, but simply led down the path of institutionalizing your children...

And these days it's starting earlier and earlier and earlier..

It's abhorrent...
It's utterly wrong...

And ONE DAY, those who come after us will look back in horror at what we put our children through, of how we believed all that we were told because we too had been put through a system which brainwashes children, through fear, of always obeying those in charge...

31 Jan 13 - 11:32 AM (#3473874)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

Lizzie Cornish, I am sorry that for you and your children school was such a bad experience. Perhaps you are a special case. I have known some hyper-sensitive people for whom ordinary events were an over-load.

For most of us though, I believe, school is a mix of good memories - special teachers, lifelong friends, doors opened to new avenues - and bad memories of sadistic teachers, bullies and dead ends.

Kind of like life.

31 Jan 13 - 12:43 PM (#3473900)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Lighter

I'm with Ebbie. School had its ups and downs for me, but overall it was great. Given the chance, I'd relive most of it gladly.

31 Jan 13 - 01:11 PM (#3473914)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Greg F.

Perhaps you are a special case.

Liz IS a special case, Ebbie - a NUT case with little grasp of reality.

Schools are just another one of her crack-brained crusades, about which she is the untilate authority on earth. Accept no substitutes.

31 Jan 13 - 01:23 PM (#3473922)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Eliza

When I was doing my postgrad teacher training, we were given books by John Holt to read. I believe he was an American, and I was fascinated by his stance on the harm schools can and do cause in the free development of children. Way, way ahead of his time. Has anyone read any of his work? They included 'How Children Learn' and 'How Children Fail'.

31 Jan 13 - 01:48 PM (#3473933)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Greg F.

Holt, who went from home-schooling to no-schooling was a mid-1960's fad in education, like Summerhill & a host of others. A good portion of his work has since been discredited.

31 Jan 13 - 03:27 PM (#3473984)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie

Funny that everybody who is capable of debating on this thread went to school.

Hence Liz stands out on two points.

We need to raise the standard of education. I am fed up of having to have people rewrite public reports in the government regulator I do work for since retirement. (My grammar there being an example...)

It appears my subscription to The Institute of Directors is well spent. Someone has to point out that education is both valuable and required to ensure success, not only personally but on behalf of society. On this important matter, it is important that GROLIES are not allowed to inflict their idiotic ideals on tomorrow's citizens.

Layout of schools varies. Shocked if OFSTED and the local fire certification body come across UK issues?

31 Jan 13 - 03:33 PM (#3473991)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Megan L

Lads please at least try to behave like grown ups whether or not one agrees with lizzie Cornish or not turning every thread into a slanging match is becoming rather tiresome.

31 Jan 13 - 04:36 PM (#3474019)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bill D

I wonder exactly where Lizzie tried to go to school and send a daughter. I say this because I had similar experiences to Don Firth... many good teachers, and a few bad ones. When my son entered school, we found the same thing.
I also know a woman whose mother remarried and moved to Ireland. As a treat, each of her kids got to spend a Summer with grandma, and the oldest daughter decided to spend a whole year there and enroll in high school--- she lasted one semester! She couldn't take the apathy, behavior problems and generally low standards.
   Now, I would not even begin to assert that this is indicative of what one might find in the UK... but I'm sure there must be problem areas, just as there are in some areas of the US.

31 Jan 13 - 05:27 PM (#3474045)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Eliza

I have no complaints at all about my own schooling. It was brilliant and effective. I got a broad and modern (for its time) curriculum delivered by excellent teachers. A State Grammar School, only 600 pupils, it helped me achieve twelve O Levels and three A Levels, qualifying me for University. I was very lucky.

31 Jan 13 - 05:41 PM (#3474056)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Don Firth

The teachers I had were, with very few exceptions, highly inspiring people.

Among the home teachers I had (provided by the Board of Education, which also oversaw the regular public schools) were all caring people and often introduced me to books and such in addition to the regular curriculum, that they figured I might be interested in, and they were generally right. We discussed various things, history, civics, and such one on one, and they managed to make it interesting.

When I got into high school, there, too, I found most of the teachers to be inspirational, very interested in making sure we kids learned, not just by having the information stuffed into our heads, but by creating an interest in the material so that we wanted to learn it.

In one Civics class, several of the kids got together and formed an after school group that met once a week to discuss current events. We managed to talk the teacher of the class into staying over after school with us to act as advisor and guide our discussions. It ate into his personal time, but he was willing. It was a good group, and I really learned a lot!

The drama group I mentioned above verged on the professional, and some of the kids went on into professional performing. In the theater (assembly hall) in the school, I saw full-blown productions with sets, costumes and all, of musicals like "Show Boat" by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein and "The Fortune Teller" by Victor Herbert performed by the kids and accompanied by Roosevelt High School's student orchestra. These were remarkably profession productions, and they generally played to full houses, not just the families of the kids, but others as well!

Two good friends who performed in these went on, one, a remarkably rich-sounding young baritone, to do a bit part in a Bing Crosby movie ("Mr. Music") then went to Broadway where he understudied the lead in "Damn Yankees." One girl with a big voice sang with several opera companies, including San Francisco and Seattle (I saw her as one of the Valkyries in Wagner's opera of the same name—"Die Valkyrie"). Several others later appeared on dramatic stages and on television.

The experience I picked up hanging with this group stood me in good stead when I was asked, some years later, to be "musical director and folk music consultant" for a production of "Dark of the Moon" produced by the Cornish College of the Arts drama department.

I missed my chance to do some acting myself when the drama teacher asked me to play Grandfather in the following school year's senior play, "You Can't Take it with You." I was only vaguely familiar with the play and I said that I wasn't sure I could do it because of my having to walk with crutches, and he said that it wouldn't be a problem. In the movie, Lionel Barrymore played the role from his wheelchair, and the teacher said that if I preferred, the school could rent a wheelchair for me to use during the play. But—I was graduating that spring and wouldn't be around for the senior play.

I found school a marvelous experience and got a great deal out of it beyond an education.

I did know kids who didn't like school--hated it, in fact--but my observation was that they tended to get out of it what they put into it.

I don't know what Lizzie's schooling was like, but it sounds as if she was a classmate of David Copperfield, had to deal with the Beadle, Fagan, Bill Sykes, not to mention Mr. Bumble and Uriah Heep who slopped over from other lives, not to mention a whole raft of flesh-eating Ogres. Something early on must have filled her with anger and hatred.

She apparently didn't have a "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" experience.

Don Firth

31 Jan 13 - 06:24 PM (#3474073)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1

"Has anyone read any of his work? They included 'How Children Learn' and 'How Children Fail'."

Yes, Eliza...both excellent books. John Taylor Gatto is another inspirational man, along with Ken Robinson..both have many videos on yotube...

'Do Schools Kill Creativity?'

To those above:

Yes, I went to school. It was a place where I learnt to distrust adults, for it was there that a teacher hit the back of my hands, very hard, with a ruler, because I had dared to whisper to the person next to me. I realized then, around 9 years old, that some people were truly evil, nasty and deeply unpleasant. He was a man who loved to humiliate, belittle and beat children. His name was Mr. Stonelake and he was a nasty bully.

Nearly ALL the teachers I had were horrid. They shouted, they made you feel so small if you got something wrong, and they hated you wriggling around on your chair.

I wriggled.
I gazed out of windows.
I was utterly bored out of my brain....

The only sweet teacher I can recall was Mrs. Smallworth, who really was like Miss Honey out of Roald Dahl's 'Matilda'. She was kind, liked us, treated us with respect, made us laugh and taught us English in an enjoyable and carefree manner. She also didn't mind if you wriggled, or giggled. Subsequently, she was dearly loved by us all and we learnt from her through choice, not through fear....

My daughter had one lovely teacher too. Mr. Meek. He used to be a Circus Performer and so he knew how to hold his children spellbound with magical stories. He cared about them a great deal and in turn, they cared about him too.

Many teachers, I believe, are on the Asperger part of the Autism Circle. They are pedantically excellent at facts, but hopeless when it comes to showing or understanding emotions and children. They can't cope with wriggly children, nor children who don't 'obey them' in every way. They cannot understand that many people do NOT learn in the same way they do, nor are remotely interested in subjects which they themselves are fascinated by. They don't relate to anxiety in children, just get more frustrated with a child who doesn't understand the subject they are teaching, often losing their short-tempered tempers way too easily.

Being pedantic, little things which mean very little to others, mean THE WORLD to them, so if children get these things wrong, all hell can break loose.

Whilst I fully understand that the Asperger mind is wondrous with facts and figures it often causes much distress to young children and older ones too, due to the inability to relate to the feelings of others.

Of course, I'll now be shouted down by those above, but truly, this is a major problem, I believe..and it's been there for generations..

I had a friend who was studying English at Uni. Her tutor for the Latin part of her course was an American Professor. The woman was very cold at times and actually reduced my friend to tears. She hadn't meant to, of course, it was just sheer exasperation on her part, brought on by my friend's inability to learn in the way her Tutor taught her subject. The tutor finally met privately with my friend, where she told her she had Aspergers, and as such, she knew that sometimes she found it very difficult to understand WHY students struggled with Latin, or with learning in the way she taught it. She suggested they talk it through more deeply, but weeks later the same problems were happening and in desperation, my friend decided to pack her course in, choosing to do an Open University degree instead...

If you have great teachers at school, you are lucky. ALL teachers should inspire their students. Sadly, this is NOT the case and the sooner the Education System owns up to it, the better.

Some teachers are Wondrous...
Far too many are absolute shit and do grave damage to young and very vulnerable minds.....

31 Jan 13 - 06:33 PM (#3474079)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1

Don, my daughter went through hell at school. She literally wanted to give up on life. She had some totally shitty teachers who took my breath away, such was their insensitivity.

I do not believe that just because someone has the title of 'Teacher' that they are to be looked up to or respected.

I also believe that TRUE teachers, those whom we remember all our lives, are BORN teachers, they do not become teachers through endless examinations or college...they are simply born to be teachers, loving what they do, having passion for knowledge and passion for children, whom they care about and would never DREAM of hurting, either physically or emotionally....

Sadly, the system has almost removed ALL of these wonderful teachers, for these days teachers are made to teach to the requirements of those who create The National Curriculum and the 'Death Trap Schoolrooms' which, for so many children, does eventually lead to a life of desperate insecurity about themselves, or, in some cases, actual death itself, brought about by despair of the terrible and shocking stress we put so many children under in order that they pass the required insane examinations to make them 'qualified human beings' rather than those whom the school system stamps 'FAILURE!' so early on in life.

31 Jan 13 - 06:39 PM (#3474082)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1

And I was raised by a Gentle Man who NEVER hit either of his children, who never lost his temper, but only loved us and treated us with respect and love.

NO teacher has the right to hit ANY child and if any teacher had tried to hit either of my children, I'd have gone round there and walloped them four times as hard. It's preposterous that this abuse has been allowed to continue for so long and that some people, even to this day, feel it should be brought back bigtime.

The way to teach children is first to LIKE them and have a two-way Respect going on.   Also, teach them in very small classes, not 30/40 children to ONE adult. That's insanity, always has been and is the cause of so very many major problems in schools, where children feel lost, cast adrift and so often, worried sick.

31 Jan 13 - 08:05 PM (#3474122)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Don Firth

I'm really sorry your schooling was a bad experience, Lizzie.

I don't know what the rules and regulations are for teachers in English schools, but in most municipalities in the United States, if a teacher strikes a child, he or she could be fired. Or most certainly disciplined and put on probation. I have never—EVER—been struck by a teacher. Nor were either of my two sisters. Nor any of my schoolmates.

I did have one English Literature teacher whom I thought was a bit of a pompous ass. He was very full of himself, and he tended to get impatient with the kids sometimes, but he did manage to impart the information. If he had problems with the kids at all, he was the primary cause of them himself. I think he wanted to be a best-selling writer and felt that he was "reduced" to having to make a living teaching kids who had to take his course because it was required. The kids tolerated him, even if they didn't like him much.

I took an elective cartooning class from a frustrated Georgia O'Keeffe who, I found out, learned her cartooning from a book I already owned. Anyway, I didn't learn anything new from her, and when she made "corrections" on my cartoons in ink(!!) I damn near broke her fingers!!

And my required geometry class teacher obviously didn't want to be there. But then, neither did most of the kids in his class.

So not all teachers were great. But I DID have some really great teachers.

As far as sizes of the classes go, there are economic considerations. Most of the classes I had in high school ran about 25 to 35 students, and I didn't find that a problem at all. At the university, I had some lecture classes that ran up to 300 students. If one needed extra help, the professor had a couple of teaching assistants one could make an appointment with.

Don Firth

31 Jan 13 - 08:17 PM (#3474125)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Rapparee

Overall, my grammar and high schooling was more than adequate. Catholic schools, both, but I was never hit until high school and then the Christian Brothers did little of that. I never had the idea that any of my teachers were sadists; some, in fact, were well-informed and were truly teachers. I admit to messing about in college, taking more than my allotted four years to get a bachelor's (the Army got in the way as well) but even then I thought and still think that most of my teachers were dedicated people. Graduate school was different, at least one prof wanted to make A Name for himself, but by then I knew how to play THAT game to my advantage.

Acting -- my drama prof in college was a true actor and a true teacher. He inspired my youngest brother, among others, to be the best they could be. One of his students went first to New York and then on to Hollywood as a character actor.

Don, I did set design when I was in the Army for "You Can't Take It With You." Later my brother played the Irish cop in a local theater production of it.

There ARE good, dedicated teachers, many of them. They can and do make a difference in the lives of their students.

31 Jan 13 - 09:06 PM (#3474151)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Stim

Schools are now all about "no child left behind" and high stakes testing. There is no time for all those wonderful things that we older sorts remember from school, and everything is now centered around standardized testing, which, as many of us may remember, were discredited as either measure of or devices for learning, many, many years ago.

31 Jan 13 - 09:29 PM (#3474160)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Don Firth

My initial ambition was to be a writer. Early on, at the suggestion of one of my home teachers, I ODed on historical novels. She had me reading Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe, and when I waxed ecstatic about it, she said, "Well, if you liked that, you'll probably enjoy Rafael Sabatini." Indeed I did!

Sabatini turned me on to fencing early on, when I was fourteen. And that's where another teacher proved important. This teacher, Katherine Modrell, taught fencing at the downtown YMCA. I dropped in one evening to watch the class, and after a bit, she came over to me and we started chatting. I told her that I would love to be able to fence, but obviously with my legs, I couldn't. She said, "Well, wait a minute. Let's just see what you can do."

Rap, a fencer, has heard all this.

It turned out that I could assume a sort of stiff-legged guard position (instead of the springy bent legs) and I couldn't lunge, but I could step fairly swiftly forward (CLICKY). I could also advance and retreat. Katherine reasoned that since I couldn't carry the attack to my opponent, I needed to develop a very airtight defense with parries, ripostes, and counterattacks. It worked!! After a few years I started entering regular competitions and I could hold my own with able-bodied fencers. I don't have any championships, but I have a very satisfying collection of second and third place medals and trophies.

Bless you, Katherine! I am eternally grateful!

I entered the University of Washington with fiction writing as my goal, both historical fiction and science fiction. But after a couple of years, I encountered a couple of people who were passionately interested in folk music (WELL before it was generally popular; this was about 1952). I also met Walt Robertson who really spurred my interest. Subsequently I changed my major to Music.

There, too, in the U. of W. School of Music, I was helped by one particular music professor when I was denied entrance because "folk music is not a worthwhile study and the guitar is not a genuine musical instrument!" Prof. Verrall arranged a special audition for me and Dr. Stanley Chappel decided that I was striving to be essentially a modern day minstrel (tip of the hat to Richard Dyer-Bennet!), and that I would be an interesting addition to the School of Music. The school now has a classic guitar teacher in residence (Michael Partington), and I like to think that back in 1957 I may have helped to kick the door open.

I did not need a degree for what I wanted to do, either as a writer or as a performing musician, so I had a certain freedom as to the courses I took. Advised by Dr. Verrall and later, at the Cornish College of the Arts, by Lochrem Johnson ("I don't care if you want to play tissue paper and comb, just as long as you're serious about your music!"), I was able to take the courses that I felt I needed, with good advice from these two professors.

There are some wonderful teachers in the world, and schools of various kinds can be a marvelous resource.

I can't hear someone putting them down in general without speaking out strongly.


All of which doesn't really have that much to do with the subject at hand. But I felt I needed I had to speak out.

Don Firth

31 Jan 13 - 09:45 PM (#3474168)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Rapparee

I think that the media, by playing up the bad teachers and bad educational practices, has given the truly good teachers a bad the media has done to so many things.

My history teacher in high school had us write a term paper on a subject in "modern" history. I chose to write a history of the operations of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Europe -- granted, it was superficial indeed! -- but he encouraged me. After I got my grade on the paper at the end of the school year, he told me that he'd been part of a Jedburgh team and had dropped into occupied France. He also said that my paper was a well-researched as was possible and had even brought back some good memories.

My chemistry and physics teacher encouraged me in every possible way, feeding my desire more knowledge in those subjects. It wasn't his fault that my math skills were abysmal and I wasn't interested in mechanics, though God knows he tried. Now I wish I knew more math and had actually learned Latin instead of just taking the course.

All of them instilled a desire for learning that still isn't quenched.

01 Feb 13 - 12:36 AM (#3474221)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Stim

I think you may be right about the media. It seems very much like "No Child Left Behind" and all the standardized testing came out of politicians not trusting teachers and imposing testing as a way of holding them accountable.

Look at the schools today, and you'll discover that many, or most, or in some places all of the older "good teachers" have gone, and schools are now full of teachers who are not much older than the kids.

01 Feb 13 - 02:01 AM (#3474224)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

I think, Guest/Stim, that you are painting with an over-wide brush. A great many of my friends are school teachers and without exception they are caring, fun, creative, talented people.

01 Feb 13 - 03:18 AM (#3474235)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie

Megan L asks for decorum and not having a go at Liz and her tilted orbit raves.


If we are debating security in school and she starts saying society should conform to ensuring her take on life, citing ridiculous and if taken seriously dangerous notions to achieve them, everybody should respect her opinion and therefore encourage the bugger?

I would have thought that was the least charitable thing she needs. Whilstever people humour her, she may never know how tedious she is, not because she says something you may or may not agree with, but because she hijacks threads to spew out illogical waffle and occasionally deeply offensive comments.

If she posts she is accepting that her comments may receive challenge, and yes, ridicule.

01 Feb 13 - 03:51 AM (#3474245)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1

The kindest teacher I ever met was AFTER my children had left school and were being Home Educated. Mr. Strawbridge was our Educational Welfare Officer. By law we didn't actually have to let him into our home, nor even let him meet our children, but we welcomed him and he became our friend.

He made my children feel like a million dollars. I've written about him before, but he's worth mentioning again. He lavished praise on them, gave my daughter his entire collection of old National Geographic magazines, because he knew she'd love them (and she did, indeed still has them at the age of 26)

He told us terribly sad stories of other children who'd been kicked out of the education system....and because they'd been expelled, he was legally bound to give them 25 hours a week of free education. He did this job because he cared desperately about those who'd been so damaged by a system he knew was terribly wrong.

He had been a teacher, as had his wife. Their careers were cut short when she was in a terrible car accident, which left her paralysed from the waist down.

We went to tea with them both one day, as he wanted us to meet her. He'd spent over 20 years caring for her by that time..They told us of their grandchildren, who were still only very young, 6 and younger, but already their parents were paranoid about them doing homework, studying, moving home to get them into better schools etc...

They could see the stress being piled on their grandchildren and the stress of their children too, who were so deeply anxious, even then, that if their children didn't do perfectly at school, they'd never succeed in life...

Mr. Sawbridge told us how nearly all the good teachers had left now, like rats leaving a sinking ship, and that the entire system was imploding from within..He was very down about it, very angry too..and very upset over children like mine who'd suffered so deeply because of the Insanity now within the UK education system, where the presssure on teachers is passed down to the children, who are seen merely as stumbling blocks to so many teachers keeping their jobs these days...for if those teachers do NOT get The Results, then their jobs are severely at risk.

Lessons are almost 'controlled' on a daily basis by The National Curriculum...indeed, New Labour's aim, when in power, was for all schools to teach the same lessons on the same days, countrywide...I only knew about this because of the wonderful 'Education Otherwise' informing parents of everything that was happening in the education system. They kept, and still do keep, an incredibly close eye on what's going on.....

It is A System Out Of Control, where children are forced to study things they have no interest in, forced to do homework, on TOP of a whole day of being at school, forced to take examinations, forced to study endlessly for those examinations and then forced to view themselves, and each other, as a Human Success or a Human Failure PURELY on the grades given to them by those who mark examination papers.

The pain and damage done to so many unbelievably creative children is mind-blowing! They are so often those who are sitting on the streets selling The Big Issue, if they are lucky, or injecting heroin, if they are not....

They are often The Poets, The Songwriters, The Musicians, The Dancers, The Acrobats, The Artists, The Healers, The Storytellers...

Academically they may fail in The System, for they are NOT allowed to BE WHO THEY ARE. Some will find their way through and go on to become Academic in their own way, in their own time, later in life, where they are no longer judged, where their talent has already been able to develop....

But the pain of being called Stupid, Slow, Lazy, Troublemakers, stays with many their whole lives long...

And the very people who have made them FEEL this way are those that society deems to be TEACHERS!

The GOOD, NATURAL Teachers teach a child how to live, how to love, how to have faith in themselves, to see the GOOD in them, the TALENT in them, the BEAUTY of them!

The BAD UNNATURAL Teachers still teach, but *they* teach children to have NO confidence in themselves, to see themselves as stupid, thick, ignorant and a total failure. They also teach others to laugh at them, when they publicly humiliate them in class, thus fostering the belief that 'stupid people deserve ridicule'...

My children had WAY TOO MANY Bad Teachers. My daughter is still, to this day, aged 26, affected by her art teacher who told her that her work was 'crap'. The teacher loved Picasso, my daughter loved The Great Masters. She is a Natural Artist, but she rarely paints now...and even the wondrous paintings she HAS done remain hidden away from the eyes of others, even though, when some HAVE seen her work they gasp in disbelief. She will NEVER believe she can paint, even though it is her very Soul....

She is a deeply intelligent human being, a deeply sensitive one too, as is my gentle son. School is there to DE-SENSITISE children, so it seems to me, not to Nurture them...and that, in my book of life,is very sick and very, very worrying....

But hey, what do I know, eh...for 'Teacher Knows Best'!

Yeah, right...

01 Feb 13 - 03:56 AM (#3474246)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,A Regular

1) An initial purpose of education (at least in Canada) was to instill a certain obedience in the general population. Check out the writings of Egerton Ryerson who became superintendent of schools in Upper Canada (Ontario)--so named because it is geographically higher or more elevated than Lower Canada (Quebec). In time the savage beast doth bear the yoke. However, his innovations were important in terms of present-day schools for a few reasons, not all good by today's standards.

"His study of educational systems elsewhere in the Western world led to three School Acts, which would revolutionize education in Canada. His major innovations included libraries in every school, an educational journal and professional development conventions for teachers, a central textbook press using Canadian authors, and securing land grants for universities.

Ryerson's legacy within Canada's education system also included the hand he played in the implementation of the controversial Canadian residential school system. It was his study of Native education commissioned in 1847 by the Assistant Superintendent General of Indian Affairs that would become the model upon which Residential Schools were built." (from Wikipedia--it's accurate, imo)

2) Education got sucked in to the 'business model' of education. It was a failure in New Zealand, England and the US but by golly Canada had to try it, too. And we did. It is still failing as is the 'no child left behind' policy in many US states. Education is not business in any sense of the terms.

3) Home schooling is a good option for some people but not for all people. It fails often because parents are not able to provide the necessary instruction to the child and things like mastery learning provide only short-term gains for most children. The remark earlier about fundamentalists is accurate. School districts along with some home schoolers often abrogate their legal responsibilities in regard to home-schooled children and failure becomes an easy option for the child. One or two visits a year from school district representatives just doesn't ensure that education is taking place in the home. I hazard that if you actually looked into the state of home schooling in most developed countries you'd see quickly that it is a poor option for too many kids and families.

4) In general, education propagates its methods and teaching techniques. WTF does THAT mean? Teachers tend to learn through chalk/talk techniques, so when they go forth to teach how do they do it? Right, chalk/talk. Despite knowing through the literature (Bloom, Krathwhol, Gardner) that effective teaching/learning takes place via a variety of techniques, the successful stuff is not generally accepted by education institutions because they do not have the ability to fund those techniques and allow them to become standard teaching practice in schools. Good teachers do it but at much cost to themselves and their own lives.

As for Death Trap Schoolrooms--that is an interesting title. Three scenarios come to mind although I'll mention just two that have been addressed already because I see no point giving bad ideas to bad people:

a) Fire
b) Person or persons with weapons

No building is by itself a firetrap until such time as it is actually on fire. (I know that sounds nuts, but it is the way the law in most places reads.) No classroom is a death trap until something begins to cause death, be that fire or people with weapons of some sort. I have been in a number of schools in various places and as a general rule it would take a medium-sized platoon per floor to secure most school buildings, and that doesn't address snipers who could be hundreds of yards away and harm children/staff with little immediate danger to themselves. Face facts: if arms are the problem to begin with, what makes you think they can also be the solution? I think it is both foolish and stupid to engage in talk with the NRA or organizations of that nature. They lie about their membership and rely on the adage "if you can't beat them with brains then baffle them with bullshit" and guess what folks? It's working.

Anyway, that's it from me for the mo. Have a good day.

01 Feb 13 - 07:17 AM (#3474332)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Bert is what YOU make of it...

Not the schools I went to Don. They were places where you sat down and did as you were told and were bored all day and every day because the teachers were incompetent. I went to many different schools in England and Wales and out of dozens of teachers only two were any good.

When I did well in a subject like math I was made to repeat boring stuff over and over and not once in any school did any teacher say, 'You're good at this, go on to the next book' so throughout my school life I spent math lessons grinding along at the pace of the slowest in class.

When I did poorly in a subject, like sports. Not once did any teacher say 'If you practice you will get better'.

Teachers in further education are much better, because students can vote with their feet. A poor teacher won't get any students. Also they treat their students with respect.

01 Feb 13 - 08:18 AM (#3474353)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Lighter

Sounds like British schools are even worse than ours.

01 Feb 13 - 08:33 AM (#3474358)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Jack Campin

School is a damn sight safer than home if you want to protect kids from being murdered.

Mothers who kill their kids

01 Feb 13 - 08:39 AM (#3474359)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Jack Campin

More on child-killing mothers

Note that the age at which mothers are most likely to kill their children is when the mother has sole responsibility for them. Home schooling will extend that period by years.

01 Feb 13 - 08:44 AM (#3474361)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Wesley S

OK I can see this is another hijacked thread. Does anyone want to get back to a discussion of how to make school buildings safer? The quality of the education received there should really be another thread.

01 Feb 13 - 09:04 AM (#3474376)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Greg F.

So Liz, you ever consider that the problem was you & not the school?

Abundant evidence, supplied by yourself, seems to point fairly conclusively in that direction.

01 Feb 13 - 09:13 AM (#3474380)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Stim

Ebbie--I didn't say teachers weren't "caring, fun, creative, talented people" at all. Either young or old--I was pointing out that the combination of "No Child Left Behind" and high-stakes testing has changed our educational system so much that many of the older "good" teachers have chosen to leave it.

I very seldom say anything against teachers. As a former teacher who worked outside of the profession for an number of years, I've rarely run across people who work as hard as teachers, and that includes the teachers that people didn't like very much...

01 Feb 13 - 09:31 AM (#3474388)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1

"Note that the age at which mothers are most likely to kill their children is when the mother has sole responsibility for them. Home schooling will extend that period by years."

Oh, for fuck's sake, Jack. I've never heard *anything* so ridiculous in my life!

If a woman is deeply depressed, or a man, they will do what they will do regardless of whether their children are at school or not!

MOTHERS are the ones who give birth (!) and only a *miniscule* percentage of women would even *consider* killing them, let alone going through with it!

IF a woman is THAT depressed in the first place, she would be just as likely to do that when they come home from school, so, please, don't give me that anti-home-schooling claptrap!

I've heard all the stories from the Anti-Home-Schoolers and most of it is recycled garbage they've picked up from folks like you.

I KNOW women (and their husbands) who home-school/schooled their children and they were all EXCELLENT at what they did and have lovely kids! My children too would blow your mind away with their knowledge, their LOVE of learning, their kindness to others and their gentleness....

My son is now at college, HIS choice, doing A Levels. The tutors from his previous year used to tell me they wished they could clone him, for he was not only very well behaved, polite and eager to learn, but he was also incredibly kind and generous to the other lads in his group, many of whom were totally off the rails, according to the tutors. They actually described some of the classes they took as 'crowd control' rather than teaching. And they said that if ALL their students had been like Josh their job would be a joy...

So please, do NOT make out that Home-Schooling is crap because it's not! My son is the way he is because he has been ALLOWED to grow up BEING ***WHO HE IS***.

There will be some bad folks amongst home-schooling, there are also some FOUL people who are teachers.

BOTH do much damage to innocent children...

To make out that Mothers who DARE to raise their own children are going to end up killing them is ludicrous and DEEPLY insulting.

01 Feb 13 - 10:57 AM (#3474419)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Backwoodsman

Lizzie, the thread is about physicl safety of school buildings. I have no wish to prevent you from expounding your interesting philosophy regarding education, but perhaps you would be kind enough to start a separate thread on that subject, so that this thread can get back to its topic?

01 Feb 13 - 11:08 AM (#3474423)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Wesley S

Agreed Backwoodsman.

Now for me - going forward - it's sad to say that schools in the future will need to be built with secure fences surrounding them. Extra doors in each classroom that be opened from the inside only. With some sort of overide key that will be in the possession of fire departments and the police so they can open them from the outside.

A minimum of entry points with metal detectors at each point. Trained personnel at each entry - perhaps the National Guard? Weapons nearby - but not in plain view. Security cameras at a distance so that security guards can see who is approaching the school.

Basically - schools that are hard to get into and easy to get out of.

Drastic? Yes. And expensive. But better than a school full of dead kids.

01 Feb 13 - 11:13 AM (#3474425)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Wesley S

One more thing - the steps I've outlined might - gasp - mean an increase in property taxes. Too bad.

01 Feb 13 - 11:43 AM (#3474435)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Megan L

Any building be it a school, factory, doctors surgery or council office, indeed any building at all has safety/security issues.

The trouble for architects, project managers and clients is balancing all the issues involved in the construction and use of the building. I am sure there are folk around here who have a greater technical input than I can, but here are some I can think of.

1. Cost anyone commissioning a building will have spending restrictions whether commercial, municipal or a private householder.
2. Fire safety where do you call a halt? Every room with access to a safe external area, what about rooms on floors above ground level? Fire alarm systems, co2 alarm system just in case people die of carbon monoxide. Or do you add sprinklers and or smoke corridors (Last system I saw used sprinkler curtain system to create a smoke free corridor to allow quick safe egress from a shopping centre). Perhaps adding fire safe lift shafts with pressurised air systems to stop smoke and flames funnelling up the shaft like a giant chimney increasing the speed of spread throughout the building. Or fire safe rooms where people can wait in a smoke free environment for rescue. And we have not even started on monitoring and direction systems.
3. Security, there are so many variables my mind is whirling like a kite in a tornado. Do you have one entry/exit point that can be manned continuously? Of course no matter how continuously manned it is there will always be a chance that someone needs to go to the toilet or is distracted for a second. Or have many points of entry/exit so people can escape any possible threat of course with more doors to the outside comes greater possibility of one bein breached (Just ask Springburn bairns who used to gather their half pennies to pay for one child to go into the cinema that child then went up the back and opened a fire door and several dozen weans swarmed in.   Again you could go down the electronic systems route with all the fancy machines you see at airports the trouble with most systems are that they are designed for a single threat (metal detector) and in the end the machines are operated by people and even the most dedicated people can be fallible.

Having re read this, my conclusion is if I was commissioning a building I could try and prepare for every possible threat and either bankrupt my self and probably end up in the local psychiatric ward with a nervous breakdown. I can worry myself into an early grave or commit suicide when I become overwhelmed with all the possible things that could happen, heck we would even have to get rid of stairs in case someone fell down and broke their neck. Or I can do the best I can for people within budgetary and statistical probability restraints placed on me by whoever asked me to get the building built.

Sorry that got a bit longer than my normal posts I was the risk assessment officer among other duties at my old workplace.

01 Feb 13 - 11:52 AM (#3474443)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Wesley S

True Meagan - every building and system will have weak points. All we can do is make them as safe as possible and do the best with what we have. But they will never be fool proof. Too many fools out there for that to happen.

01 Feb 13 - 12:16 PM (#3474450)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

Fire safety will always be important; that is always factored in. In the USA, there are sprinklers, monitors, firewalls and doors and alarms, posted exit charts and admonitions as well as other things I don't know about. In addition, there are frequent and random fire drills. Fire safety is important.

Terrorist attacks are harder. The human element makes it less predictable and more difficult to guard against; humans, whether they are aged 60 or 16, are endlessly inventive and may probe until they find the one chink in the armor. And as they say, We have to succeed every time, they need only succeed once.

That said, any added safety feature may well help. A second door, to my mind, is an added safety measure. A room with only one exit, I repeat, is a death trap.

Schools in Alaska cities now routinely lock their exit doors at a certain hour, and any latecomer must ring and use the intercom.

Some classrooms now lock automatically when class is in session.

How about an emergency alarm that warns every classroom that there is an intruder in the building? One of the mystifying elements in the Sandy Hook massacre is that the killer reportedly shot out a window or glass door, and that a guard saw it.

It is all well and good to plan to change our society from the violent one we have to a more peaceable one. Good luck with that, any time soon.

01 Feb 13 - 12:27 PM (#3474458)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Wesley S

"How about an emergency alarm that warns every classroom that there is an intruder in the building?"

I asked at my sons school. I was assured that they have a separate alarm sound - apart from the fire alarm - that tells teachers that there is a dangerous situation going on and to take all precautions to protect the students. Let's hope that all the other school systems have something similar now. I think concerned parents should ask their school if this system is in place at your child's school.

01 Feb 13 - 12:36 PM (#3474468)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Greg F.

How about an emergency alarm ...

And what do they do when the alarm sounds?

"Duck And Cover" under their desks as we were taught to do in the 1950's to survive a Nuclear strike?

Or whip out their firearms and prepare to re-enact the OK Corral?

01 Feb 13 - 12:41 PM (#3474469)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Wesley S

By the way. I've heard that there is a company that sells backpacks for kids with bullet-proof panels in them. Their sales have gone through the roof in the last few months.

01 Feb 13 - 12:51 PM (#3474474)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Megan L

I think it must be really sad to live in such fear it would be interesting to know comparable percentages for example the chance of a school age child getting killed at school, at home, in a car, by a vehicle, drowning or in an aircrash or by a rampaging animal.

01 Feb 13 - 01:16 PM (#3474486)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Eliza

A school I taught in for 21 years was found to have asbestos as a fire protection material in the ceilings! It was a Victorian building with very good outside fire-escapes to the upstairs classrooms. The asbestos has presumably been put in in modern times as a safety regulation. A child there once set his coat alight in the cloakroom by leaving a lit cigarette in his pocket (little monkey). His coat melted and set all the others alight. They were of a nylon-type material and the smoke was horrendous. It filled the corridor and you couldn't see a hand in front of your face. The fire-alarm went off and my class escaped out of the door to the carpark leading from our room. The others all got out safely. But the thickness of that smoke showed me that it's far more dangerous than actual flames. It was jet black and rolled along like a tsunami. The fire crew said it was terribly toxic. All the coats were merely a little coloured puddle under each peg!

01 Feb 13 - 01:17 PM (#3474489)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,999

And then there's this.

Those kids want to go to school, too.

01 Feb 13 - 01:36 PM (#3474496)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1

Ah, you're not supposed to mention 'those children' Bruce....

So many never give a thought to what America is busy doing in other countries.

It's only American children that count, apparently....

Short of locking your children inside a flameproof, windowless, bulletproof, grenadeproof school building for the majority of their day, for YEARS of their lives, there isn't a great deal you can do to ensure some crazed soul won't try and make his page in history...

Unless, of course, you start dealing with The Crazed Souls in the first place...

And then, there is the anxiety of what might happen to them on the way home, in the bus, or the train, or on their bikes..or in a car...

Life ain't safe...
It's particularly not safe these days because ONE species has fucked it all up to such an extent that we've reached the point we have...

And then, of course, don't EVER even contemplate going to the cinema.

Meanwhile, back at the Drone Launching Pad...................

01 Feb 13 - 01:44 PM (#3474501)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Wesley S

Meanwhile, back on topic.....

Start your own damn thread.

01 Feb 13 - 01:50 PM (#3474505)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Wesley S

As far as new schools go I can't help but think that the solutions proposed by the reasonable people among us would be that much more expensive to implement than what we're doing now. Re-tooling old schools would be a nightmare.

01 Feb 13 - 02:29 PM (#3474524)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

"So many never give a thought to what America is busy doing in other countries."

Damnit. I expect you to be concerned about what can be done in your own country.

01 Feb 13 - 02:48 PM (#3474538)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Megan L

Ebbie you seem to have a problem where you are our kids wander out at lunch time to get sweets from the garage or sandwiches from the local shop. If they are feeling energetic they walk into town to the cafe or chip shop.

The problem is if you wrap children up in cotton wool and kevlar you cannot expect them not to grow to be neurotic unfunctioning adults.

01 Feb 13 - 02:58 PM (#3474545)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Rapparee

Funny, the kids here can do that too. At least the high schoolers -- the others are a bit young to be running across busy streets, but many grammar school kids do walk home for lunch (if home is reasonably close and there are low-traffic streets) just as I did many years ago. If they stop at a store for candy on the way back to school, well, they'd best be there by the time school takes up again.

But the school district is not about to let the kids from a school dash across one of the busiest intersections in town so they can buy candy at the convenience store, and rightly so. This does not say that the kids don't sneak out and go there, just as I did those many years ago.

01 Feb 13 - 02:58 PM (#3474546)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,999

Lots will depend on where the money is spent.

Charmion in another thread pointed out something similar regarding Canada and Mali. If we're spending money all over the place we sure won't be spending it at home, whether you live in the US, Canada or the UK. Building fortresses for children to learn in won't defeat drones from other countries, and we can expect that within twenty years.

01 Feb 13 - 03:03 PM (#3474549)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Greg F.

Ah, but you see, Ebbie, it ISN'T Liz's own country. She's to busy pointing the finger at othercountries. Or other shibboleths off topic.

01 Feb 13 - 03:17 PM (#3474555)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Rapparee

There are statistics from the CDC here. Look at the detailed tables, where the 10 leading causes of death are broken out by age group. This is for 2009, the latest data available.

01 Feb 13 - 03:19 PM (#3474557)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie

There rests the case for the prosecution M'Lord.

Democracy may be overrated but at least whilst ever 51% of an electorate orbit the real world the la la land of Liz can never prevail.

And for that, thank fuck.

01 Feb 13 - 04:27 PM (#3474583)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: JohnInKansas

I'm afraid that adding more "escape doors" in my local school system runs counter to the trend of upgrading to "tornado proof" classrooms, since true tornado proofing requires the removal of all exterior openings that the flying junk might crash through.

Some progress is being made on the local project, although they've resisted the suggestion that classrooms should have no doors at all, and arent' too happy with the proposal that there should be one "IN" door in each room with NO EXIT until the stinky little brats have shown enough "larnin'" to be released - with appropriate leash and harness - again in public.

As to the quality of public education, I must say that I'm still working on the last assignments given to me by two of my teachers. The first was in 1955 and the second in 1956. I'm making some progress with both.

To this last, I can add that my own children didn't fare quite as well as I (and my classmates) did, but that's probably because of the growth in "social distractions" and not because the teachers became less capable. There was some degeneration in administration (mostly due to "political correctnesss") but I'm sure we all recognize that factor.


01 Feb 13 - 05:12 PM (#3474597)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

Rap, anything that ends in 2009 is hardly relevant today.

Megan C: "The problem is if you wrap children up in cotton wool and kevlar you cannot expect them not to grow to be neurotic unfunctioning adults."

Proposing and installing sensible - and doable - safety features is hardly wrapping youngsters "in cotton wool and kevlar." Or are you contending that children have to just toughen up and take their chances? I don't consider that adults watching out for children is mollycoddling them. We are the ones who created this dangerous world, not they.

We already have many traumatized youngsters who have viewed death up close and personal. Anything we can do to prevent that in future is worth it.

I think that having only one door to a classroom was a shortsighted policy from the first, fit only for sweatshops and crowded nightclubs. I have no doubt but that it came about because of costs, that it had nothing to do with the safety of children.

Furthermore, since the chance is slim of any individual school being targeted for attack, schools have the time to cut and frame doors little by little. It need not be done overnight.

01 Feb 13 - 06:03 PM (#3474617)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,999

"I think that having only one door to a classroom was a shortsighted policy from the first . . .".

Especially in pre-sprinkler days. I've seen too many schools that have kitchens for use in what used to be home ec classes which now are called food arts (or something like that) and the way out passes in front of the stove--the most likely place for a fire to occur in kitchens. Many of the designs are poorly thought out with an eye to cost-cutting as opposed to safety. Schools have evacuation plans but usually those plans involve escaping fires and not attacks by armed people. The world has changed, but not that much. The following link to Wikipedia contains 'events' involving deaths of students and staff going back to the 1700s.

01 Feb 13 - 06:07 PM (#3474620)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Greg F.

anything that ends in 2009 is hardly relevant today.

Why? Please elaborate.

01 Feb 13 - 06:20 PM (#3474630)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Stim

Please let us know when your link goes to a PDF, Rapparee. Also, when connecting us to such a delicious compilation of catastrophes, please be specific as to what you want us to peruse. Otherwise, some of us will be pondering it for the rest of the day;-)

Some of us, for instance, will observe that while homicide is not one of the leading causes of death over all, it is in the top ten among young people, particularly white and black men.

Some of us will also puzzle over the fact that for whites of both sexes, at least from 15 or so on, there are always a lot more suicides than homicides (often two to three times as many), where as for blacks, of both sexes, it is reversed, and the homicides tend to greatly out number the suicides.

01 Feb 13 - 06:48 PM (#3474636)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Jack Campin

In Rap's list for 2009-2010, there were 11 school homicides. For the last year you can maybe quadruple that, including the Newtown shootings.

Still a long way short of 200 a year, the average number of American children killed by their mothers.

Which would be the more all-American solution, (1) put an armed guard in every home or (2) issue every child with a gun to defend itself against mummy as soon as it was old enough to aim and fire it?

01 Feb 13 - 06:52 PM (#3474638)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Ebbie

Why scarcely any figures post-2009 are relevant? Because since then there have been so many heinous incidents.

Bruce, thank you. I had heard of very few of those primary school incidents, although I remember reading of the Bath School massacre.

02 Feb 13 - 06:46 AM (#3474793)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Lizzie Cornish 1

"So many never give a thought to what America is busy doing in other countries."

"Damnit. I expect you to be concerned about what can be done in your own country."

Well yes, but never close your eyes to what those IN your own country are doing to children and adults in other countries. We here in the UK, for instance, should NOT be in Afghanistan, nor should we have been in Iraq, nor should we be sending soldiers into Mali, and as for Libya...well, don't even get me started! And then, of course, America has been in Africa for a long time...

You cannot start talking about the safety of children in your own country whilst turning a blind eye to what the leaders of your own countries are doing to the children of other countries, without any thought for *those* children at all...

Oh..and over here theh Fire Service no longer is allowed to check on new buildings from a Fire Safety point of view during the Planning Process, for this is now in the hands of those who build the buildings...Thus, mercenary bastards are busy building many firetraps in my country, such as the latest huge Vue Cinema complex in Exeter, which is a Death-Trap-In-Waiting...The Fire Service KNOW about this, as I, and others, have told them of the dangers, but all they can do is give a little advice here and there....

The Fire Officer I spoke to was outraged about this new way of thinking and he agreed it would, undoubtedly, lead to disasters...

02 Feb 13 - 07:10 AM (#3474798)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Megan L

Glasgow earned the unfortunate soubriquet of "Tinderbox City" there is a good book on the work of the fire services called tinderbox heros covering the cities post war years covering events like the Graftons clothing store fire in 1948 if i remember rightly it was 13 young women shop assistants lost their life through Cheepside whisky bond in which 19 members of the fire service lost their lives and the one I remember the James Watt Street factory again in an old bond building with iron bars on the windows in which 22 people died.

The point is bad things happen we can do our best to make places safer but when people are strugling to pay rent food and services how much extra will they be willing to pay for precautionary expenditure that may never occur?

02 Feb 13 - 07:36 AM (#3474803)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,999

The single best thing that could be done when new buildings are constructed is to add sprinkler systems, period. You than will get a few hundred gallons from the system or 20,000 gallons from the fire service, your call.

Also, in North America prefabricated stairs are now being used in new construction. The stairs burn through easily thus making it extremely unsafe to go into burning basements or second floor areas. Unless a human life is at risk I think firefighters will have to reassess the benefits of house entry into shoddily-built structures. I hope they do. Certain structures are rightfully called widow-makers. No building is worth a firefighters life, imo.

02 Feb 13 - 06:29 PM (#3475016)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Don Firth

The high school I attended (link to picture above) was essentially a fireproof building (brick and concrete construction) and was, nevertheless, equipped with fire alarms and a sprinkler system—and had periodic fire drills. Most of the standard size classrooms (35 to 40 desks) had only one door, but when the bell rang, you'd be surprised how fast they could empty out. Barring a general building collapse brought on by something like a major earthquake (and this building has survived intact through a few real doozies!), I can't feature anything much rendering the door unusable.

There were three restaurant/lunch counters within a half-block of the school, two fairly good sized and one hole-in-the-wall, that got most of their trade from lunchtime customers from the school, and some kids tended to hang out there and socialize a bit after school. Two of them were across a well-traveled street, but there was a stop light at the main intersection. The food was generally pretty good in terms of taste, variety, and nutrition (the proprietors were conscientious people) and a welcome alternative to the touted "highly nutritional" food in the school cafeteria—which actually wasn't that bad, really.

No problem that I can recall.

Incidentally, anti-smoking rules (tobacco—pot was practically unheard of then, suddenly coming into vogue in the Sixties) were strictly enforced within five blocks of the school for an hour before and after school. Penalty for being caught smoking was having to come in forty-five minutes early a specified number of mornings for detention. Kids who cut classes without a valid reason (written excuse from parent) also wound up in detention. And the school informed the parents of the transgression.

There were some regulars who showed up in detention (bring your textbooks and study or stare silently at the wall, your choice. And no talking!), and I'm pretty sure they didn't like school much. I remember a couple of kids who got picked up in a stolen car. They were joyriding.

But they were a tiny minority.

I can't think of much of anything to make school buildings more secure, other than a vast horde of armed guards, such as stationing a National Guard unit in every school building.

Home schooling, from what I've heard and seen of it, is not really a viable alternative. Most parents simply aren't qualified. Many who are hell-bent on home schooling have an agenda. "I ain't havin' nobody teach my kids no stuff about evolution, no sirree! I'm teachin' 'em good Christian values, by God!!"

And when, in a large number of families, both parents have to work to make ends meet, who's going to be doing the teaching?

No, there's got to be a better way. The schools are not the problem.

Don Firth

02 Feb 13 - 06:57 PM (#3475024)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,999

Well said, Don.

02 Feb 13 - 07:14 PM (#3475033)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Jack Campin

Meanwhile, look at what parents aren't doing to not kill their children.

The CDC keeps records of accidental deaths in children. The three largest categories (all vastly outnumbering homicide) are automobile accidents, poisoning (usually by prescription drugs) and drowning (which for young children is most often in a home swimming pool).

Most parents can't be arsed minimizing or eliminating their car usage, or keeping less pills around and taking proper care of them. And the small minority with a swimming pool are so attached to their status symbol that they refuse to see how likely it is to get them a Darwin Award.

Schools that act as irresponsibly as lethal parents do will get disciplinary action and get pilloried in the papers. How often do you see a parent get their mugshot in the crime section of the paper for taking their kid on a lethal, pointless car trip, leaving a bottle of painkillers on the kitchen table or operating a deathtrap pool?

In ancient Rome (until some point during the Republic) it was an absolute right for a father to kill his children while they were under 21. De facto, the US operates by the same code.

02 Feb 13 - 10:07 PM (#3475118)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Stim

Just wanted to let you know Jack, how much I enjoy it when you post links to music. You have a discerning in in that area.

03 Feb 13 - 07:13 AM (#3475197)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: GUEST,Musket sans cookie

Uk schools have to conform to fire regulations with regard to design and build. Fire departments then check them periodically once occupied. This has always been the caee. It has also been the case that planning officers can consult with their local fire service if they feel the design may be borderline. My experience not my view. Only last month I inspected a care home on care quality and the fire service turned up for theirs at the same time. I sit on advisory and safeguarding boards with fire service officers and Liz's waffle doesn't exist in the real world some of us work in.

Just in case anybody believed Liz and her fantasy..

04 Feb 13 - 09:00 AM (#3475606)
Subject: RE: BS: Death Trap Schoolrooms
From: Megan L

Jacks posts encouraged me to do some rooting around for information this site gives intresting figures based on three countries study of child homicide UK canada and USA sorry for the small c

The great writer of Scottish Historical fiction Nigel Tranter always encouraged people to search for sources written by various people and decide for themselves where the path lay some folk in here often make the quote about opinions a similar thing could be said about sources everyone has an angle.