Knife-crime classes to be extended to Scottish primary schools

The Sunday Times is reporting that an initiative developed by surgeons to teach children the consequences of knife crime is to be extended from secondary to primary schools in Scotland.

The paper says the programme, Medics Against Violence, was developed by three surgeons in Glasgow and has already reached 20,000 secondary pupils. It will be introduced into primary schools later this year.

The move comes shortly after the conviction of a 16-year-old schoolboy for the culpable homicide of fellow pupil Bailey Gwynne and the paper notes that 225 children were referred to the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration for carrying knives or other offensive weapons last year. It also suggests that while knife crime has fallen dramatically amongst teens in the country, there is still a willingness to engage in reactive violence, especially if a family member is insulted.

Dr Christine Goodall, one of the co-founders of MAV, is quoted:

“What I hear from young people now, which is different from when we started, is that they are all pretty clear that taking a knife out with you is not a good idea,”

“That is reflected in the figures. There has been quite a dramatic reduction in knife-carrying among teenagers. What remains a problem is that they are very quick to react to a situation. I think that is probably what happened in the case in Aberdeen. There was a bit of teasing and things escalated. Young people will still engage in reactive violence, which is not planned. The trouble is that if you happen to have a weapon with you, you are much more likely to use it.”

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, is reported as suggesting that another potential issue comes from integrating special needs children in mainstream schools without sufficient resources. He is quoted:

“If you analyse the records around the number of violent incidents, a disproportionate number come from the special school sector.”

More at: Knife-crime classes in primary schools (subscription may be required)


Dr Goodall makes a very important point doesn’t she? Teens are always going to have flare ups and confrontations, especially when someone feels disrespected, but the problem is that these go to a whole different level if they have access to knives or weapons. 

Education is one part of the solution, but is more action needed, in Scotland and elsewhere, to minimise the number of knives ever getting into schools in the first place?

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