Letters - 05 April 2024

From Trustees’ remit to A personal take on Gaza

Trustees’ remit

In response to the letter by Richard Pashley (22 March), and any others the Friend may have received since on this topic, may I invite readers to consult chapter 8 of the current edition of Quaker faith & practice, in particular 8.17.

Marisa Johnson
Clerk to Britain Yearly Meeting trustees

Boarding schools

There was some correspondence in the Friend a few years ago about boarding schools. I want to bring up the subject again. I think we suffer in this country (among the upper and upper-middle classes) from negative attitudes to children. These are inherited from the Victorians. This is not about idealising children, but rather valuing and respecting them. Deliberately separating children from their parents is a shocking act of violence.

There are three points I want to make. First, teenagers are not mini-adults, they are still children until the age of eighteen. They grow and mature very slowly. This is especially true of boys. They need parents or foster parents to guide them. This is a human rights issue. They need parents to discuss values with and sometimes to rebel against. This puts a big responsibility on parents – and, of course, parenting is not easy.

Second, I am no longer surprised by the level of denial about this issue. It is normalised but it is not healthy. We all need balance between freedom and some level of control.

Third, I am a member of an organisation called Boarding School Survivors – Support. We are calling for an end to boarding for under-sixteens. I would like the Religious Society of Friends to take a lead on this at Bootham and Sibford schools. We would all be healthier and happier – and hopefully more emotionally intelligent as a result.

Henry Lawson

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