Just what the fuck is it with some people? They seem to see sex in every corner, dark purposes in every act of kindness, filth in normal human contact.
Mrs Lavery, who was catering supervisor at St Mary’s Primary School, was subjected to a disciplinary procedure after telling a colleague to give a youngster, to whom she was related, a biscuit.
The married mother, who had worked at the school for many years, alleges she was told her actions could be interpreted by some as grooming a child for sexual purposes.
Just who told Mrs Lavery this, and how did it get to be a disciplinary issue? It's not as if she had said or done anything suspicious - her 'crime', for which she has spent two years in limbo, was that she did something which somebody else might have interpreted as grooming. There was no suggestion at any time that she was grooming the child, only that some unspecified person might have seen it that way. Whoever the stunted pervert was who saw the incident and reported the gift of the biscuit, the school's management took it seriously enough to subject the dinner lady to three disciplinary meetings, one lasting over an hour. What did they find to talk about in those meetings?
Mrs Lavery, did you tell a colleague to give the child a biscuit?Five minutes, maximum.
Yes, I did.
Were you intending to groom the child for sexual activity?
No, I was not.
Do you agree that someone could interpret it as such?
No-one with a normal and balanced mind, no.
Fine. Free to go.
But the chair of the Stormont Education committee, Mervyn Storey, said it was a case of "political correctness gone too far". "I think it's a sad situation that schools are so boxed in because of legislation," he said.I don't really understand this statement, but I am guessing that he means that if any allegation of child abuse is made, it must be investigated. That makes sense, and I wouldn't disagree, but you have to ask if anyone applied the common sense test to this. The connection between a married woman, a relative of the child, offering a biscuit - no, asking someone else to give the child a biscuit - and a supposition that this was - or might have been seen by some people as - a precursor to some nasty sexual activity with a minor, is so far off the radar as to be ridiculous.
It's a good illustration of the current authoritarian conformity that we have become used to over the last ten or fifteen years. Rules are there to be followed, and common sense and mature judgement have no place.
"The Board at no time considered this to be a child protection issue. If it had, then appropriate action would have been implemented immediately.”So why the fuss? You were hounding her because the rules said you had to?
And I wonder what the child in question made of it all. What did that little incident tell him or her about adult sexuality? Nothing positive, that's for sure.