Friday, July 17, 2009

Authors boycott schools over sex-offence register
By Chris Green in The Independent
Thursday, 16 July 2009

Respected British children's authors Anthony Horowitz, Philip Pullman and Michael Morpurgo object to a new government scheme that requires them to register their names on a database in case they pose a danger to children
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A group of respected British children's authors and illustrators will stop visiting schools from the start of the next academic year, in protest at a new government scheme that requires them to register on a database in case they pose a danger to children.
Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake all told The Independent that they object to having their names on the database – which is intended to protect children from paedophiles – and would not be visiting any schools as a consequence.
Pullman, author of the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, described the Home Office policy as "corrosive and poisonous to every kind of healthy social interaction". He said: "I've been going into schools as an author for 20 years, and on no occasion have I ever been alone with a child. The idea that I have become more of a threat and I need to be vetted is both ludicrous and insulting. Children have never been in any danger from visiting authors or illustrators, and the idea that they should be is preposterous.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

This happens here as well. A writer I know, a woman, was told by a local school that they wanted her to get a police certificate (this may not be the right term, but basically it is a clearance from the police) before she could appear as a guest in a school writing programme where she would have talked to the kids for around 1 hour with the regular teachers in the classroom. Like the English writers, she considered the request to be ludicrous and declined to seek the clearance.