THIS summer, an exam board was forced to defend a GCSE maths question involving calorie counting after being criticised on social media for causing distress to pupils with eating disorders.
Another because an excerpt from an unseen text was taken from a classic book involving rape though the passage in question made no reference to the rape.
Is it April 1 again, already? Can this be serious? Are children to be so protected that they can’t be presented with innocuous real-life scenarios?
Neither anorexia nor rape should be treated lightly, but encouraging young people to collapse in a heap at a mere hint of life’s unpleasantness is absurdly counterproductive. But nowadays everything upsets somebody apparently.
Next we’ll be told they can’t answer questions about the witch craze in history in case it upsets Wiccans. Or Dick Turpin because of the evident masculine focus of his name and the fact he was a highwayman and not a highwayperson. Chemistry: no noble gases, because that’s elitist.
Presumably, too, we’ll ban history, as it’s about wars and dead people; Geography as it might mention tsunamis and people drowning; Maths as it tells you that you can’t calculate the last digit of pi. It’s almost the same as the university students studying biology etc who demand trigger warnings if part of the course involves seeing dead bodies. I’m sure most would have no problem. It’s only the attention seekers who make a fuss. If they’re that sensitive, why apply to study subjects like biology? When will it all end?
And to think that, 75 years ago, ‘kids’ of around the same age were storming beaches in northern France under heavy artillery to liberate Europe from Nazi rule. Could there be another ‘story’ that more starkly illustrates the total antithesis between those brave souls and the invertebrates of today?
Perhaps newspapers should place a trigger warning above these ‘offended’ / ‘feeling hurt’ stories. Maybe something like: ‘Warning! The following is unsuitable for older readers. It may cause extreme irritation or outrage…’
Nora Johnson’s crime thrillers ‘Betrayal,’ ‘The Girl in the Woods,’ ‘The Girl in the Red Dress,’ ‘No Way Back,’ ‘Landscape of Lies,’ ‘Retribution,’ ‘Soul Stealer,’ ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available online. All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity.