Thoughts on father figures
Over the weekend, this happened:
Short version of the story: a Daily Mail reporter allegedly posed as a jihadist to try and wheedle out some (largely imaginary) fellow extremists, in order to write yet another story implying that all Muslims are terrorists. Forum admins quickly cottoned on and exposed their IP as coming from the Daily Mail offices.
(Update: since this post was written, it has been well established that the individual named in the initial report has had nothing to do with the Daily Mail for years. The DM themselves also claim the message didn’t originate from their offices at all, though that part has not been independently verified.)
So what has this got to do with school IT, or father figures (as per the title)?
Well, while my work in schools only occasionally puts me directly in front of children, it happens often enough that I’ve developed a good appreciation for the importance of father figures. When I would make a troubleshooting visit to a class of 5 year-olds, for a number of those kids I was the only man they saw all day. Almost all primary school teachers are women, and many of the kids had fathers who were absent from their lives either through divorce or working extremely long hours in the city. I was regularly taken aback by the number of small children who would run over and beg me to come and play with them, despite really having no idea who I was. This didn’t happen with random female staff who would visit. These were kids who desperately wanted a male role model in their lives, and never got the opportunity to have one.
At one of the schools I used to work at, we had a pupil whose father was a Daily Mail journalist, and he wrote exactly the sort of stories you would expect from someone working for a tabloid with a long history of prejudice. His child, on the other hand, was a genuinely nice kid. I found it sad to think that one day they would either grow up to be as equally hateful as their father, or alternatively, grow up disillusioned by the realisation that their father was a horrible human being.
The few times they racked up minor infractions on the computers, I always looked the other way. I figured they had enough problems at home with a father who was a racist homophobe for a living. I still wonder who has it worse: the kids with no male role model at home, or the kids with a bad one?