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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October 2004, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
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Your comments on the Your child's been stabbed programme..

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I witnessed the stabbing of a teacher by a child 25 years ago. Kids carrying knives is not a new problem. What is new is the number of kids carrying knives - unfortunately a catch 22 situation where perceived defence demands being armed with a weapon. The changes in society over the past 20 years are to blame for this seismic shift in the violent response of the younger generation. They see their elders - and betters? - lying, cheating, making war and holding the almighty dollar above any other value. We need to teach that people are the most important thing. I am not religious but "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" should be the number one message to push. We don't care for each other like we did: this is a direct result of 'competition' and the concept that to win is most important. We have bred a violent culture: we now reap the rewards.
Andy Heath, Liverpool

It's a whistle blowing. Eye opening. It is horrible to see how the knife culture threatened the heads of the schools to keep their tongues tight. The question of the young victim's father is unanswerable: "How it is possible to carry knives to schools when children are not allowed to carry their toys to schools". I personally accuse the parents for turning blind eyes on their children even when they know the character and behaviour of their children. A flower loving child cannot carry a snake to the school. This culture is starting from their homes. Difficult to accept but it's very true.
Baylon Yogaratnam, Harrow, United Kingdom

A frightening wake up call - that is how I found the programme. But what would have been additionally enlightening is to have heard the lessons from the US. What tactics have been deployed in New York City, for example? Has the zero tolerance culture been applied to minors carrying knifes and if so has it worked? I do hope so and let's see a similar approach here - please before it is too late. Schools need to host seminars on the dangers of knifes and spot checks should be considered a necessary right of the peaceful majority.
Robert Herder, London

The "knife culture" shown on this programme is the result of years of immersing the young people of Britain in a materialistic trash culture where their heroes are American ghetto gangsters and so-called sportsmen who openly cheat to obtain what they want. In addition, the idea of taking responsibility for one's actions is no longer accepted by society and any deterrent to committing these crimes has long since been removed.
Martin Dunkley, Narbonne, France

If head teachers were given control of exclusion of disruptive pupils, our schools would probably be much safer
Jo, Stockport
If head teachers were given control of exclusion of disruptive pupils, our schools would probably be much safer and more relaxed places for our children to attend. There's always a minority that make life harder for the rest, and these minority for some reason have the backing of the LEA and governors and not forgetting the parents: "My son/daughter would never do anything like that". It's time we started to punish the perpetrators and look out for the victims. There is too much administration and not enough common sense.
Jo, Stockport, England

I cannot understand the attitude of the Head Teacher (or his Governors). If a child is caught with a knife, he is committing a criminal act - being in possession of an offensive weapon. The police should be informed - or at least the child given a threat of informing them. To say he can't take action is an abrogation of his duty. No wonder the problem grows.
David Fleming, Basingstoke, Hants

I think the carrying of knifes is really bad as I know loads of young boys that carry them. A lot of them don't see how dangerous it is. When there are planned fights ready to happen, most of the boys that are about to fight all have some kind of weapon on them, most of which are knives. A majority of them haven't yet done serious damage but there are a few that have. Nobody can stop them from taking/carrying the knives around with them, but I think there needs to be some kind of help because most of the stabbings don't get reported, therefore no one knows about them and doesn't think its happening as much as it is. I thought the Panorama programme was very interesting and the pictures were very good. It just shows it's happening everywhere and more people need to realise it.
Becky, Luton, England

May I just correct one point made by the actor speaking the head teacher's words? The LEA does not any longer have the power to overturn the decision of the governors of a school if they decide to uphold a head teacher's decision to permanently exclude a child. The parent/carer can appeal to an Independent Appeal Panel made up of local citizens. I am a recently retired LEA officer who used to have such powers before the law was changed. As a secondary deputy head I removed a 15 inch bladed knife from a boy about 12 years ago.

As an LEA officer I attended a Governors Disciplinary Committee meeting where a boy was excluded for threatening another pupil with a knife. The boy's parent appealed to the IAP who reinstated the boy. The head and governors took it to the High Court and lost. My wife, a retired teacher, removed a knife from an eight-year-old girl some years ago. The programme needed making in order to draw attention to this problem which I am sure has grown since we had first hand experience. Very fair reporting - well done.
Peter Hobbs, UK

I was a victim of knife crime and was nearly stabbed, if it had not been for passers by. I now carry a knife for protection on the streets because next time I may not be so lucky. So I'm prepared to stab someone who pulls a knife on me - that's just the way it is everywhere.
Ryan, Kent

Yeah, I feel sorry for people who have been stabbed but people don't really go around stabbing people unless they are provoked
Sian, Peckham
I am 16 and I live in south London. I have been brought up by crime. These days boys live by the violence and that is not going to change for now. Yeah I feel sorry for people who have been stabbed but people don't really go around stabbing people unless they are provoked. I see crime everyday and to me its nothing new. I see it like this - if you live by the gun you die by the gun and if you live by the knife then you die by the knife.
Sian, Peckham, London

It is time that the sale of offensive weapons including knives is made illegal at the point of sale. Offensive knives are readily available in every town and city and can be easily purchased by children. Schools need to seek clear guidance from their LEA as any child found in school with a weapon is committing an offence and the police should be called. A fixed term exclusion will not cure this problem.
S. Simmons, Wirral

Thank you for your programme. Just over a year ago my son, then aged 11 (first year of senior school) on his way home from school (alone for the second time) was accosted by three youths, one of whom threatened to stab him for money. Fortunately he managed to escape, running and raising alarm to a passer by.

This problem must have affected, in one way or another, every family living in a city in UK and probably many in the country.

Unfortunately many families won't have watched the Panorama programme this evening. Maybe if the reality of the issues as discussed by the team who were going into schools in the programme, were brought into broader public domain through a nationwide campaign of programmes, involving youngsters themselves be they victim or perpetrator, might help bring home the lasting horrors of this issue.

It's the young people themselves who need to consider and understand the long-term effects of the problem and change their attitude and behaviour, as shown by the statistics in the programme. "What is it if it was your brother or sister, son or daughter who had just died...?"
Timothy Coales, Croydon, Surrey

I'd just like to say that I am a young male (under 20) who used to carry a knife for two years when going out (never in school). I would like to say that the images shown were very shocking and even though I carried a knife I would never think of doing something that bad to someone. However in my area there are people who would. I think the knife amnesty is rubbish because if I walked into a police station and dropped my knife in that bin i am already labeled by the officers in there. They may not ask questions then but they will remember, plus there are cameras in the building watching you. I'm glad I don't carry a knife any more but police have to see that, for me, carrying a knife was like carrying a condom. I would only use it to lower the risk of me getting robbed, like a condom would lower the risk of Aids.
Smoke, Surrey

I would just like to thank the BBC for showing tonight's Panorama on knife culture. It was to say the least a massive eye opener for me, I am somewhat oblivious to this "knife culture" that is rather shockingly common around young teenagers and pre-teens. I was horrified to learn of just how much damage can be impacted on a victim. Seeing the pictures of wounds is disturbing and I think that we all need to feel this shock and see the reality of what is going on in the streets.

People only seem to know of this culture if they have an experience of it i.e. been on the receiving end of an attack. Obviously this lies with the government to make everyone aware of what is going on. How does somebody of seven years old manage to walk around on the streets with a knife? Why do these kids feel that they need to protect themselves? And I suppose the big question is - what can we do about it?
Graham Forbes, Guiseley, UK

When I was in high school there used to be a gang called the flick knife crew and they used to think it was funny to pull knives on people to see what reaction they get. I think that the schools are so very wrong ignoring this for the sake of their reputation as a good school. How many more young people need to die or get seriously hurt before this message gets across?
Kaylee, Wales

Having just watched the coverage on stabbings, I was shocked to see the blatant lack of respect of life some of the youngsters showed, naive maybe, but although my son (Brendan) was stabbed and nearly died, I didn't think that the teenagers would openly admit and by the smirking how easy it is for them to carry a knife and to use protection as an excuse is insulting. Why were the parents of these teenagers not interviewed? I think that the knife amnesty (while I back it because one knife given up could mean one life saved) is not going to be the ultimate answer. I feel we need to get to the parents, maybe it is them that need lessons to be learned.
Patricia Headd, Tottenham, London

I am a youth worker, working with young people on the outside of Glasgow. The complacency often shown by them towards the carrying of knives is frightening. The statement made regarding the carrying of knives in schools being covered up is not unique. On a wider scale I am aware of senior community education management who do not see knives as something which youth workers should discuss with young people.

If knife carrying and related issues are to be tackled with any degree of credibility or lasting effect, then it will have to be done at the sharp end. This will require the commitment of a wide selection of agencies and statutory sector departments acknowledging their remits and responsibilities to the communities they are supposed to be serving. Instead of resting on laurels and wishy washy fantasies that it won't affect us - The problem exists elsewhere.
Anonymous, Glasgow, Scotland

It's a sad fact of modern life that we cannot carry on our daily lives without fear of violence in one form or another. We are fortunate that, so far, there has been no report of pupils with knives at the senior school my 11-year-old son attends. However, it doesn't necessarily mean it's not happening. If my child will be safer at school, I have no objection to pupils being searched for offensive weapons, or at least any pupil caught with one being reported to the police. How many more children must be injured or killed before something is done? And how many times has that question been asked?
Karen Nobbs, Wickford, UK

I think that the same thing must apply for carrying knives as for guns -an immediate custodial sentence, probably not as long as for a gun but I think it would make teenagers think twice if they knew they would go straight into custody.
Keith Brailey, Exeter, England

I think that computer games should be looked at in connection with the ease with which children will use violence. Many games let children act out violence and murder to score points. There is often little thought given to the consequences of the violence of games. I believe this is one of the reasons for the increasing use of knives.
David Richardson, UK

We live in a small, rural village. My eldest son who is 13 attended a friend's birthday party at our local village hall two weeks ago. My youngest son who is 11 nipped down to see his elder brother. When my youngest returned he told me that he had seen one of the boys that was at the party with a knife that flicked out. I immediately made my way down to the village hall but found nothing. The boy with the knife could easily attend the same school as my sons. I am thinking of getting in touch with the school. Fifteen years ago I was attacked by a girl that wanted to have a fight with me on the estate where I had to grow up as a child. She cut me down the nose with a small snap of a Stanley blade.
Paula Allen, nr Bradford, England

The attitude of a small number of parents that their children can do as they wish and can't possibly be in the wrong often made me wonder just how well they knew them
I was the head teacher of a primary school in the late 90's when I excluded three nine year old boys. One had bought an army knife into school and given it to one of the others. One boy then held tight one of the girls in the playground whist the other held the knife to her throat and threatened to cut it.

The parents of one pupil took me to the racial equality commission because they accused me of racism because their son is black. I told them that when the exclusions were taken to my governors no names were mentioned, but judgements to exclude were made based on the seriousness of the incident.

When the commission was told that the two other boys excluded were white the case fell apart, but I wonder what would have happened if two or all had been black. It seems to me that unacceptable behaviour has to be judged regardless of race, creed or colour. Incidentally the terrified girl was also black. As a head I took great exception to any kind of bullying which had been rife in the school before I took it on but the attitude of a small number of parents that their children can do as they wish and can't possibly be in the wrong often made me wonder just how well they knew them.

In my time I was threatened several times but always stood my ground. It took time but eventually both the behaviour and the school's reputation greatly improved
Anonymous, England

It would seem this is now a rising trend among our young which needs to be stopped, before it is too late. The law should be changed so that that anyone caught carrying a knife is punished. No I don't mean lock them up, as I do not believe this is the answer we should be looking for. These kids should be made to meet the families of stab victims and victims themselves, so they can see the devastation that one second of madness can cause. As for punishment, I would say public humiliation is the answer, as street image to a kid means everything. As silly as it may sound I would like to see capital punishment brought back.
Mark Frost, London

It's a crime that the magistrates cannot give the offenders a sentence to fit the crime. Why can't they make them clean up the operating theatres or the surgery where the people that they have slashed and stabbed end up.
David Shaw, London, England

What is wrong with people these days? I am 22 and thankfully have never had any direct contact with knife attacks or the like, but you hear the stories. What is it that people think they need to prove? Do these people think they're gangsters? I think they have seen one too many films don't you? Do they not realise the consequences of their actions? I mean what happened to using your fists, it is just cowardly and I fear things will just get worse until the whole population become complete enemies and it'll be every man for himself!! I felt I had to comment because the way things are these days just angers me. People need to sort it out and stop thinking that they're out of some movie. Come on, grow up!!
Paul, Chelmsford, Essex

I think that this is a very serious issue, having three children of my own. I feel for all those parents who have lost a child due to these knife attacks. A very good informative programme, but this should have been aired during prime time TV when teenagers, families and any vulnerable parties are watching. I hope this episode will be repeated at an earlier time and hopefully have an impact on reducing knife crimes and deterring a new group of people who are thinking of carrying a knife on their person with the intent to injure or just for protection purposes.
Elaine Scott, Tottenham, London

The real issue is why there is a culture of casual violence among youngsters
Mr Johnston, Newbury
Knives do not kill people. People who use them do. If there were no knives, they could use bottles instead. The real issue is why there is a culture of casual violence among youngsters, which the programme made no attempt to explore. One of the weakest "investigations" I have ever seen.
Mr Johnston, Newbury, England

I think that the reason why children carry knives for protection, which obviously aggravates the problem and dangers, is because they are bullied. They are not only bullied in an open way but in their own homes. The fact that many children have their own personal mobile phones means that they can be bullied in what should be a protected and safe environment, their own home, when they receive threatening text messages which they hide from their parents. The heads of schools should agree a policy over knives with the governors and LEAs then explain it to the children and parents, so that any child bringing a knife into a school knows what the consequences will be whether they use the knife or not.
Janet Erskine, Nr Royston, Herts, England

Knives are not the problem - the law is the problem. When I was young, 50 odd years ago, you wouldn't pull a knife on another youngster because you knew that his father or big brother would come round and pulp you - and you also knew that the local copper would turn a blind eye because you deserved it. These days, the stabber would get off with a sob story and those involved in retribution would be punished. It's time the right of self-defence and retribution was returned to the people. In schools, the carrying of any weapon should mean automatic expulsion without appeal, not exclusion, so there is nothing to argue about.
John, UK

I am astounded that the BBC who are currently advertising their documentary on fear are peddling this selectively researched trash. As a sociologist I am aware of the dangers of coming to conclusions with inadequate data and am astounded that this reporter has the front to make sweeping generalisations about the state of safety in our schools when the research that was carried out showed little rigour or representativeness. The tone of this programme was biased from the beginning and showed an unrealistic picture of life in schools today.

As a teacher I work with teenagers and do not recognise the picture that this reporter was trying to portray. I saw many gaps in the reporting, one point being that only one head teacher was prepared to talk to him, only one head teacher believes that there is a problem, what comments were forthcoming from the others that he contacted? Or did they not fit into the 'story' he was trying to tell.

This programme smacked of sensationalism and 'moral panic' a well known sociological phenomenon that the press use to instil fear into the population and increase ratings and sales. I credited the BBC with more intelligence than to produce this kind of selective journalism, they are after all public broadcasters and as a result have a duty to the country to be rigorous in their reporting and should be aware of the effect this scare mongering can lead to.

This instigation of 'moral panic' can lead to an amplification of the problem. More reporting and concentration on this as an issue can lead to the creation of a problem, or 'deviance amplification'. This kind of reporting can spiral out of control and create a problem that wasn't there before. As a result I am disappointed that the programme I was looking forward to (The Power of Nightmares) is now besmirched by this clear example of scare mongering. I write to point out the inherent irony and hope that it isn't lost on you.
Julie Curry, Ipswich, England

Goodish programme, but did I miss out on something. The programme seemed to say that there is a problem, but didn't seem to make any attempt to explain why. This seems like investigative journalism without the attempt to investigate.
Paul, Hereford

The Panorama programme on children who carry knives didn't go far enough. If children carry knives for whatever reason then they could actually have to use them. Children should be told of the consequences not only to the recipient but to themselves, if found guilty a long period or life in prison. Is this possibility worth the risk.
Susan Tilley, England

I'm 17-years-old. I've carried a knife before and the only reason I carried that knife was for protection. I just want to say this knife problem can never be solved by the government no matter what they do. The only way to solve this problem is peace.
Sahal, Luton

Is this type of aggression as a result of media influence or a result of societal change where youngsters perceive there is a real threat to their wellbeing?
Grace Farmer, Cardenden, Fife

I asked my daughter if knives were carried by friends of hers. The answer shocked me - yes
Sharon B, Nottingham
I was shocked at the widespread use of knives among teenagers. I have a teenage daughter and son. I asked my daughter if knives were carried by friends of hers. The answer shocked me - yes. Her reply was: "It's not a safe area so they have to carry them." This is a real concern for me - more so as I feel both my children are at risk. This has really brought home to me the likelihood of one of them being attacked by a knife for money or a phone. The only thing you can do is tell them not to carry any valuables, but at 16/15 they want to be out socialising-
Sharon B, Nottingham

Watching your programme 'your child's been stabbed', I was deeply disturbed by what I saw. The kids featured were complete animals and obviously had no idea of the consequences of their actions. I have always felt intimidated by large groups of children hanging around on the streets, but it just goes to show that with the yobbish culture of today, you never know what is going to happen.
Janine Thomas, South Wales

As I watched the programme on knife carrying, I also listened into all major police frequencies in the Glasgow area on my scanner (hobby). In the course of your programme, three youths were stabbed in the Glasgow area. So I would say there might be a problem here.
Stephen ,Glasgow

My 15-year-old son joined me to watch some of this programme. I consider myself lucky that my children go to a "good" school. I asked my son: "Does he know anyone who carries a knife?" and his reply startled me. It was: "You have to carry knives. Everyone has one". This statement was quite matter of fact. I asked him did he have one and he replied that there was no need as either his father or I collect him when he goes out. I am completely shocked.
Fiona, Essex

After seeing this, it is very worrying. Something does need to be done but how? You can't go turning the schools into prisons. I really can't think of a way to stop this, apart from educating children more both at home and school and introducing more severe punishment.
Terry Melville, Milton Keynes

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