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Sacrificed to other gods

Only those without any modicum of decency will have been unmoved at the stabbings and deaths of two seventeen-year-olds in London and Manchester at the weekend.

And it is not the police who are at fault. Their job is to arrest offenders after a crime has been committed. So who is to blame?

In church last Sunday morning (Shrivenham Methodist Church), the morning after the latest death, I was moved to tears when we sang two lines from our hymn book. The lines were: “We have sacrificed our children, on the altars of our gods.” Daily in our town - and also in a restaurant recently. I have witnessed neglect of children in favour of ‘other gods’ – such as phones. And this, I believe, is only the tip of the iceberg. What happens behind closed doors is hard to imagine.

Perhaps it will one-day dawn that the way we bring up our children does have consequences. Love and the giving of undivided time to our children’s needs can have positive results as they grow older. Neglect can only make matters worse. If as a society we fail our children, we should not be surprised if they do bad things to other children.

David Hamshire, Greenaway, Wanborough, Swindon

History of right to buy

It appears that those, who currently, grumble about lack of council housing are not of an age to know of the reasons which led to right to buy.

When it was introduced councils, all over the country, owned large numbers of houses along with extensive lists of names awaiting. Movement off these lists was very slow due to the following. As a tenant approached end of life a family member would move into house to supply necessary care and when that time came the family assumed the tenancy! Hence no movement off the list.

When Government granted the right to buy councils welcomed it. They owned houses with unmoving tenants but with responsibility for upkeep. A sale gave money to the council and rid themselves of the problem. It is true the waiting lists did not disappear. Building lots more houses will re-instate the problem.

Brian T Bradbury-Pratt, Parsonage Court, Highworth

Uniform rules draconian

For far too long, head teachers across the UK have acted extremely unprofessionally by suspending, punishing and even expelling pupils who do not conform to the schools’ draconian uniform codes, yet staff are free of caution. Such conduct is immoral, unethical and even potentially unlawful behaviour. Some students are banished for wearing clothing a hue darker or lighter from the standard colours, or wearing casual (for health or money reasons) or provocative clothing.

They appear to have no regrets in depriving pupils of their education for the most trivial of reasons, and it proves that they are more concerned with maintaining the status quo than doing the right thing. Year after year, pupils sanctioned for wearing the wrong clothes and the excuses are always the same (improving discipline, making everyone equal, instilling pride etc). The outcome is always the same – the heads are hailed as heroes, while the parents and pupils are demonised.The only way to stop this, is to get rid of uniforms permanently.

Children whose parents are unable to afford the overpriced uniforms from the appointed suppliers, are ostracised by being excluded from school (thus denied a supposedly free education) or put in isolation. That is bullying, not discipline. This national obsession borders on criminal.

Stefano Pavone, Bathampton Street, Railway Village, Swindon

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