I was looking at the pictures of the riots in the UK and remembering the early 1980s in Liverpool when we had our riots. The picture of London burning was bad enough but having seen Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool endure these copycat riots and other parts of London devastated by marauding gangs I thought back to my teaching days.

I had started by teaching on a YTS programme for young adults between the ages of 16 and 19. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that those youngsters who were less literate were the ones likely to cause the most problems. I decided to go and teach in the Secondary Modern schools. I hated that part of my teaching so much that I felt I had to look at an even younger age and I went to supply teaching in the Primary sector. Even here it was evident that if kids are not checked by around the age of 8 they almost become a lost cause.

From the time I spent in the Secondary Modern environment I felt that, as a teacher, there was a mob mentality in some classes that many of the teaching staff were finding too stressful. I remember going into one class at a school in Cornwall where five adults were trying to monitor seven eleven year-olds who were supposed to be taking a SATS test. It was my first experience in the secondary sector and I was shocked. I couldn’t believe these youngsters were so out of control. This would be around 20 years ago and these same children would now be around 31. Many will have had their own children and they could well be just like the children we all saw out on the streets throwing rocks at the police. I suppose I am saying I am not surprised at what I saw. If Cornwall was bad then these cities would be as bad if not worse.

The trouble is these youngsters don’t have a lot to look forward to and there will always be groups of anarchists who will be very happy to jump into the picture and create mayhem. This would seem to have been happening and all this at a time when the UK police are facing cutbacks. The UK needs to get real. This is not the time to cut the police budget. It is also not the time to be cutting back on social programmes to help the youth and less well off. It’s a terrible time for the UK and I just hope and pray that they can cope. With the Olympic Games on the way the UK Government has got to get this under control now and look at employing youngsters as quickly as possible.

A lot of what has happened stems from young people feeling they can do as they like and always having other clean up after them. I wouldn’t mind betting many do not help enough in their own homes and have parents clean up after them or they just live in a dirty environment. On a macro scale society needs to be more appreciative of the basics in life. Without clean streets and cleaners just imagine how dirty the place would be.

Society needs to go back to basics in many ways but everything is underpinned by discipline and respect. When these two words are not understood and followed you are likely to get the anarchy we saw on out TV screens.

Parents need to be aware of the whereabouts of their teenage children. They need to be aware of their activities over the internet as a lot of these events are well planned in advance. Parents need to talk with their teenage children and see whether they have got anything in their lives because destroying the happiness and lives of others will never be the answer.

Politicians need to be aware that we are all still angry with their poor performance. The UK parliament has been discredited and lost a lot of its respect. The banks and the bankers have also ground to make up. This is not just a time of social and economic unrest I feel this is a watershed that is both dangerous and exciting. The world is changing and we all have to be responsible for our actions.

We are witnessing immense change around the globe and I believe it is ultra important not to lose Education as a part of this change. I think we should all now be seeing that it is ridiculous to be paying footballers lottery winning wages every week. It is also ridiculous to have songs played on the radio and television which applaud loutish behaviour and irresponsibility. If the technology is changing the way we are then we must work with the new technology and get it on our side.

As a specific, it is necessary to remember that most policemen and women do a fantastic job in the most difficult conditions. I know the job is now well paid but no money is worth standing and being hated by mobs on the rampage. I think we need clear leadership from the police and clear backing from the politicians.
Personally, I pray that everything settles down pretty quickly and Britain gets back to what it did best-being great!

Author's Bio: 

Vincent M Treacy was a teacher and lecturer in Cornwall for many years. He has a B Phil (Ed), and a BA degree and a Certificate in Education. He was a Judo instructor for many years and was also a Field Sales Manager for a Brokerage Company in the Food Industry before he went into the teaching profession. With his wife he has brought up his own children and tried to understand the problems of the youngsters he taught by drawing on his own family experience