Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I am simply in despair at the way the words "inappropriate" and "offensive" are bandied about these days because they are often used to shut someone up with a valid point because someone else doesn't like what they say.

I'm currently fuming after my normally well-behaved, polite and mature son, who had an issue with one of his tutors, has been hauled over the coals for posting an "inappropriate" opinion on a college public forum.

I asked him about it after we got an official letter warning that any more of it and he would be kicked out and have his future ruined before he'd even begun.

Crikey, I thought, what on earth did he say?

He tells me he said his tutor was full of B...S... but he had been spoken to, he did apologise and ended up laughing with the tutor about it.

So why then did some other jobsworth in the college takes such "offence" at something that had been resolved and dealt with in what I believe was a very "appropriate" manner?

Because the comment was left there a week and no one - not even the staff who control the thing - bothered to delete it and the jobsworth was personally "offended" by it because she thought it was "inappropriate". My son was expressing his opinion for God's sake. He hadn't stalked the tutor, threatened violence, carried out a hate campaign behind his back, called him a paedo or kiddie fiddler, or even tried to get him sacked from his job.

"What did he say," I said to the Jobsworth.

"I am not prepared to repeat it," she said.

"Well, I think it's important or how else do we know what we're dealing with?"

"I can only say it was B (dot,dot,dot) and S (dot, dot dot.)"

"So are we talking about the phrase he said he used "Bullshit" or a stronger word?" I implied "bastard" which it could have been but I thought if I said it that would give the sanctimonious hag a heart attack.

"It was the former not the latter but I am not prepared to use the phrase myself" she said.

I don't condone my son posting messages with words that can hurt but I feel this was resolved until someone not connected with the incident or the relationship between my son and his tutor decided to make it her business and resurrect it - while also putting it in writing which is bound to stay on his record somewhere. Strewth! Who are these people we are trusting with our children?

I also wanted to tell her that that my son is entitled to his opinion and using the words "inappropriate" or "offensive" won't change his view. Instead I said that he obviously has a problem with his tutor and where should he go to register a formal complaint or discuss these issues if he feels he is being let down.

"He can come to me," she said.

Yeah. Right. My feeling is there is no point unless Miss Offended agrees with him. Alternative views are disallowed in sanctimonious NuBritain.

I am a former student of that college, and so are my three daughters. None of us ever had this kind of problem with over reactive staff. If there was another college nearby, my son would leave this one as it does not have the students' best interests at heart. I always believed the college - which used to be a fine institution - was better than school 6th form. Now I know it is not.

The college, incidentally, also demands that students sign a pledge not to smoke in the open air anywhere in the grounds or else they could get kicked off the course. Now that is "inappropriate" and "offensive" as far as I am concerned.

I sincerely fear for my children's future in this country. Why did we let them ruin it?