16-year-old Will Cornick has recently been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his teacher, Ann Maguire, who he stabbed multiple times with a kitchen knife. The schoolboy, who was 15 at the time of the murder, will have to serve at least 20 years of his sentence for the ruthless act. It poses the question of how safe our nation’s schools are and why Cornick was allowed to be in school with an eight-inch knife?
Violence in schools is not a new phenomenon. Playground scuffles are relatively common with chants of ‘fight, fight fight’ spurring on the aggression. It is however less common that weapons become involved, and obviously far more worrying. Laws have been in place for some time governing the area of drugs and violence in schools and are largely successful. Head teachers now have the power to search pupils for drugs or offensive weapons, without parental consent. A number of schools have implemented border control facilities with security guards and metal detectors to try and deter unwanted behaviour.
It is criminal offence to possess an offensive weapon at any time, including in the grounds of an educational facility. In the event that a pupil is found to be in possession of such an item, they are referred to the police and prosecuted accordingly. There is an argument that children must be suitably educated about the dangers of knife crime and whilst education is indeed important, should this not be something that is happening at home, rather than becoming reliant on teachers?
The statistics surrounding crime in schools is worrying to say the least, with government statistics reporting over 1,000 pupils in UK schools found to be carrying weapons in the last three years. Problems appear to be more serious in inner-city schools in areas like London, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester reporting gang-related crime that can fuel the violence. It is imperative that schools take appropriate security measures to ensure more stories do not break that lives have been lost because of knife crime.
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