I ran across this article today as I was doing a quick trundle through the online news websites, and while I realise many people will be shocked and appalled by its content, I think it’s brilliant.
Not only is this an example of some truly unashamed masculine jockeying by the school principal – who is clearly one of the “it never did me any harm when I was a lad” brigade – but it’s also interesting to note that none of the adults who came up with this idea seem to believe that there’s anything wrong with the idea of letting teenagers beat the hell out of each other to settle disputes.
The story comes from America (which will probably come as no surprise, although you can just as easily easily imagine the same scenario taking place in Paisley or Manchester) – where it has been discovered that the headteacher of one Texas high school set up a makeshift steel cage to allow his pupils to “settle their arguments” in private. Or, rather, in front of other teachers baying to see some blood sport.
It appears that one corner of the school’s changing rooms were covered with barbed wire and steel lockers to create a makeshift cage, while pupils were encouraged to engage in no-holds barred slugfests to let off steam – a quite outstanding effort in PC non-conforming, if ever I saw one. While most other supposedly liberal, namby-pamby schools across the States are employing counsellors to help kids with their problems, education leaders in Dallas feel that broken bones and bare knuckle shows of bravado are far better ways of dealing with the issues facing today’s angst-ridden youngsters.
It begs the question of how none of the parents ever got wind of this – as I imagine it’s pretty difficult to hide a custom-built, blood-spalttered steel cage when it comes to school open days or parents evenings. You can imagine little Jimmy Bob or Bobby Jim being shown round the facilities on campus, all wide eyed and excited, only to be presented with the horror of something more suitable to an Eli Roth gorno film when he pops to the bathroom.
Cue the following conversation – Parent: “What’s this Mr Philips? As the PE instructor at this school, you should be able to tell me what this wire mesh contraption of doom in your locker room is.” Teacher: “Err…well that’s the trap we’ve built for the raccoons who keep breaking in. We, er, keep ’em there until the verminators come.” Parent: “Are you sure? I’m pretty certain I can see a severed finger and some teeth over there.” Teacher: “Ok, moving on then…”
What’s particularly impressive is the fact that this was allowed to carry on for three years – yes, that’s right, THREE YEARS. Apparently, there was no such thing as the School Security software there, and of course they had to stop one planned bout because one of the school’s security staff had challenged a pupil to a fight (as it would have been a bit unfair) but it was quite acceptable to let pupils “duke it out” in the cage.
I have a feeling that there may be quite a few Daily Mail readers who would be delighted at the idea of introducing this into some schools in the UK as a means of disciplining unruly pupils. Obviously not at the posher schools where their darling young Tarquin or Sebastian attend, but certainly to deal with the ruffians at those comprehensives in the slums. Oh, and while we’re at it, why not introduce this as some kind of test that immigrants have to go through when they’re applying for asylum – before they steal all our jobs, of course…
I’m sure that – in a perverse sort of way – there must be some kind of character-building benefit to this and it’s certainly true that proper cage fighting can instill discipline into participants. After all, at Holyrood, when we worked with the Max Extreme Fighting promotors, we were constantly told that mixed martial art fighters were highly trained, skilled and disciplined athletes who spent a great deal of time perfecting and honing their skills.
If this was the kind of thing that this school in Dallas had been trying to instill into its pupils, then there probably wouldn’t have been that much of an outcry. But the frankly ludicrous idea to allow them to batter each other to submission with no training and for their teachers enjoyment – no matter how shockingly intriguing or black-comedy hilarious – probably means that it won’t catch on…