Notes From the Northern Colony


by Greum Maol Stevenson

On November 7, Scotland becomes the first country in the U.K. to ban adults from using violence on children, which is now a criminal offence.

In the Scotland in which I was a child, the tawse was used routinely in schools, and teachers would also slap children on the head or face, shove them, shake them, even choke them. Corporal punishment was banned (or “phased out”) in Scotland in 1982, but it’s taken 38 years for domestic violence against children to be banned.

In England and Northern Ireland, you can still batter your children as long as it is “reasonable chastisement.”

I hope the legendary George Purves, a career child-abuser while pretending to work as a maths teacher and “guidance teacher” at North Kelvinside and then Woodside Secondary Schools in Glasgow in the 1970s and 1980s, is still alive to see himself and his world consigned to shameful history, and children recognised as human beings.

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