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A Magazine for Sheffield

Tower Defense.

I do not get on all that well with my offspring's teacher. Ever since the day she gave him a brochure explaining the real meaning of Easter, I have had my eye on her. Recently, my offspring took a game called Tower Defense to school on his USB drive. As far as games are concerned, it is quite strategic and positive. At least it is not about stealing cars and shooting hookers. While I understand schools require rules, I do not feel being banned from using school computers is in any way an appropriate punishment. I do however feel an appropriate punishment for handing out medieval metaphysic propaganda to children would be a good old fashioned stoning. From: Margaret Bennett To: David Thorne Hello David I tried to call you but your phone is off. Just letting you know that Seb bought a flash drive to school yesterday and copied a game onto the school computers which is against the school rules and he has been banned from using the computer room for the rest of the term. Sincerely, Margaret From: David Thorne To: Margaret Bennett Dear Maggie, Thankyou for your email. I am not answering my mobile phone at the moment as I am experiencing iPhone envy and every second spent using my Nokia is like being trapped in a loveless marriage. Where you stay together for the kids. And the kids all have iPhones. I was not aware that my offspring taking software to school was in breach of school rules. Although the game is strategic and public domain, not to mention that it was I who copied and gave it to him, I agree that banning him from access to the computers at school is an appropriate punishment. Especially considering his enthusiasm for the subject. Also, though physical discipline is no longer administered in the public school system, it would probably be appropriate in this instance if nobody is watching. I know from experience that he can take a punch. Regards, David. From: Margaret Bennett To: David Thorne David We would never strike a student and whether the software is pirated or not is not the issue. He denied having the drive which means he knew he shouldn't have it here then it was found in his bag so I feel the punishment is suitable. Margaret From: David Thorne To: Margaret Bennett Dear Maggie, Yes, I agree. Education and access to the tools necessary for such should always come secondary to discipline. When I was young, discipline was an accepted part of each school day. Once, when I coloured outside the lines, I was forced to stand in the playground with a sign around my neck that read 'non-conformist' while the other children pelted me with rubble from the recently torched school library. Apparently a copy of Biggles had been found behind a filing cabinet. Another time, because I desperately wanted a Battlestar Galactica jacket like Apollo in the television series, using brown house paint from the shed at home, I painted my denim jacket and used Araldite to attach brass door hinges as clasps. Feeling that it was an excellent representation and despite the oil based paint still being soaking wet, I wore it to school the next day. Unfortunately, the paint dried while I was sitting in Mrs Bowman's English class, securing me to the chair. After the school handyman cut me free, I was sent to the principal for damaging school property. My punishment was to scrape wads of chewing gum off the bottom of every chair in the school after hours. It took several weeks and it was during this lonely time that I created my imaginary friend Mr Wrigley. During class, when the teacher was not looking, we would pass each other notes regarding the merits of disciplinary action and how one day we would own real Battlestar Galactica jackets. Also, if you happen to see Seb eating anything over the next few weeks, please remove the food from him immediately. He forgot to feed his turtle last week and I feel a month without food will help him understand both the importance of being a responsible pet owner and the effects of malnutrition. Regards, David. From: Margaret Bennett To: David Thorne David I hope you are not being serious about the food but I am forwarding your email to the principal as per school policy. Margaret From: David Thorne To: Margaret Bennett Dear Maggie, Rest assured I would not really withhold nutritional requirements from any child. Except maybe that one that starred in the Home Alone movies. I read somewhere that a healthy breakfast helps concentration and have found, since replacing my usual diet of nicotine with Froot Loops, I am able to move small objects with my mind. Just this morning Seb and I were discussing the importance of good nutrition which is why, if you check in his school bag, you will find a bag of rice, vegetables, a wok and a camping stove. The gas bottle can be a little tricky but has instructions printed on the side so he should be alright. Please remind him to stand well back and cover his face while igniting as the hose is worn and has developed a small leak. Also, I am not sure what you are teaching in your classroom but Seb came home the other week talking about a healthy eating pyramid. I had to explain to him that pyramids are made of stone and therefore not edible so I would appreciate you not filling his head with these fanciful notions. Regards, David. From: Margaret Bennett To: David Thorne David I have no idea what your point is. I will speak to the principal about the ban but you have to understand that only government approved software is allowed on the computers and Seb knew this rule. Margaret From: David Thorne To: Margaret Bennett Dear Maggie, I understand the need for conformity. Without a concise set of rules to follow we would probably all have to resort to common sense. Discipline is the key to conformity and it is important that we learn not to question authority at an early age. Just this week I found a Sue Townsend novel in Seb's bag that I do not believe is on the school approved reading list. Do not concern yourself about it making its way to the school yard though as we attended a community book burning last night. Although one lady tried to ruin the atmosphere with comments regarding Mayan codices and the Alexandrian Libraries, I mentioned to the High Magus that I had overheard her discussing spells to turn the village cow's milk sour and the mob took care of the rest. Regards, David. From: Margaret Bennett To: David Thorne David, I have spoken to the principal and in this instance we will lift the ban. Margaret )

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