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School accused of double standards

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Standing up to sexism: Union President accuses Ysgol Bro Pedr

Standing up to sexism: Union President accuses Ysgol Bro Pedr

WHEN 14-YEAR-OLD Bethan was prevented from going on a school trip following an incident in school, her mother, UWTSD Student Union President Abi Jenkins was horrified to find out that Ysgol Bro Pedr, Lampeter, had taken its decision without hearing Bethan’s side of the story.

Abi told us: “Just before the end of term, I called the school to ask them if there was still a place for the children on the trip to Oakwood. They came back and said that there was a place for Iwan but not for Bethan due to an incident the previous week.

“Bethanhadn’tmentionedanything to me and so I asked her about it.”

Bethan told her mother that the previous week, a boy at school had repeatedly suggested that a girl’s place was at home or in the kitchen and that was where she should be. In response to persistent goading, Bethan finally told the boy where to go and what to do when he got there.

Abi said: “She was reluctant to tell me because she knows she shouldn’t have sworn however she was also confused.

“Working with the Students’ Union, I have spent a lot of time raising the profile of women, fighting inequality, researching barriers to progression etc. I have always taught the children that it is absolutely wrong to discriminate against or insult people on the basis of their gender, sexuality or race.”

Abi explained: “Bethan told me that she felt that this message was completely contradictory to that given by the school and she asked me why swearing is worse than making derogatory comments to someone because of their gender.

“My response to her is that it isn’t and I was furious to hear that she had spent a day in isolation, and had been banned from the trip while the boy and his friends had not even been disciplined.”

Abi’s response was to take Bethan, her siblings and friends to Oakwood on the day Ysgol Bro Pedr went there. She told us: “Bethan knows it was wrong to swear and was punished for it, but I will not stand for injustice. I made it very clear that I was not taking Bethan to Oakwood because her behaviour was okay, but because the other child’s behaviour wasn’t and he was still going.”

When Abi contacted the school, she says that she was told that it was unaware of Bethan’s side of the story. Abi was then told there had been a repeat of the incident the day before the Oakwood trip, that the school was taking it seriously, and would be dealing with it in September. The boy concerned was, however, still going on the trip.

On the trip to Oakwood Abi and her daughter wore tee shirts spelling out their feelings about the situation: “I don’t regret using a censored expletive on the T-shirts because I did it for impact and it worked. There are now hundreds of people discussing the problem of sexism in schools.”

Reflecting on her personal experiences at University as a student and a student officer, Abi said: “In the higher education sector we talk a lot about how we can effectively tackle lad culture.

“However this just goes to show that lad culture is not something that is bred in sports teams at university but in the playground and classrooms of our schools. I put no blame on the child that made the comments, my anger is directed straight at the school who I believe have a duty to educate our children on the values of respect and equality.”

She concluded: “In my view Bro Pedr has demonstrated that instead, they have rules in place to stop swearing but are doing nothing to deal with the more serious issues that are likely to impact on our children’s lives as they grow older.”

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Lecture considers the future of war

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INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).

Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.

He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?

Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”

The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.

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Youth Service invited to international training event

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TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.

‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.

Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education​,​ said​:​ “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.

“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!​”​

Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from ​Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.

Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said​:​ “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker ​added​:​ “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”

Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, ​commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”

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Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds

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ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.

Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.

CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.

Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.

On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.

Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.

The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.

Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.

Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.

Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.

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