For to be free is not to merely cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela -

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Professor Stephen Heppell

As posted on Gill's blog in the comment thread about "Mr Badman, Professor Heppel, bullying, Notschool and Becta" in response to Professor Heppell virtually kissing Gill:

Something has been bugging me for a few days now and I cannot let it go. If only because I want a clean conscience. And because I want to walk the talk.
One of the things I've said in my letter to Baroness Morgan is that I would do anything within my power to stand up against abuse.
Now, I have a growing feeling that I am witnessing at least the onset of abuse and although I feel very uncomfortable watching, I am still limiting my response to trying to override my instincts and instead reason and rationalise. But hurt and damage is being caused. Trauma's are being formed. There is definitely an unequal situation, wherein one party - at least potentially - has power over another. The less powerful party is not entirely defenceless, but knows that in the end the other party has access to ultimate power.
If the situation I'm describing would be between an adult and a child, the authorities would (want to) be involved, the child would be in a protective programme and the adult would be up in court.
But in this case I'm not sure who to turn to for justice, because the more powerful party is representing the authorities and the less powerful party is represented by adults. In the end, though, children will be the victim of this abuse in the making.

Professor Heppell, I am a very visual thinker, and the image of you offering kisses to Gill - after first saying "Would you rather I'd left it to the Ofsted members" - was a final straw for me. It turns my stomach, to be honest.
I am all for engaging in dialogue, for exchanging view points, for open and non-violent communication. But the only fair way to conduct that is if both parties set out to respect each other and take each other one hundred percent seriously.
Please take a step back, Professor Heppell, and look at this situation. Look at it as if it concerned a situation with on one side a teacher who knows his grading is going to determine the future of his student, and on the other side the student, who is being asked to hand in his free spirit in exchange for a good mark.
Look at it as if it concerned a situation with on one side an employer who know his employee is depending on him for the income that supports his family, and on the other side the employee who is being asked to smother his free speech in exchange for an income.
Look at it as if it concerned a situation with on one side a (grand)parent who knows the child can't live and can't go anywhere without them, and on the other side the child who knows that if he doesn't do what the adult wants him to do, there will be no food, no home, no love.

I'm sure you don't want to be part of any of these situations, Professor Heppell. So please take a step back and consider what your position as member of the reviewing panel is in relation to our position as the party being reviewed for something we are falsely accused of.
Gill doesn't need your kisses - Gill deserves your support, your understanding and not in the last place: your apology.


Debs said...

Thank you very much for this post - I have been thinking along similar lines myself, and couldn't have put it better.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Mieke. It's a game to the participants of the review panel or a job. It's my children's lives to me.


Ruth said...

Thank you for writing this Mieke in such an eloquent way. I totally agree with you.

'EF' x said...

ooer, Mieke, you have to forgive me, I am completely lost! I am trying to keep up with what is going on regarding politics and home ed but I think I am gonna need an 'idiots guide' soon!

Mieke said...

oooer, EF!! Think twice before you make a serious attempt to keep up with it all! I will email you back shortly, am still keeping activities to a minimum. Hugs xx