Students at the Hundred of Hoo Comprehensive School in Medway have been running up to smokers in the street, shouting "ciggy busters" and snatching their cigarettes from them. And filming themselves doing it. Should you wish to, you can find these self-righteous little vigilantes on YouTube.
Here's a quote from the responsible "adult" from the school in the write-up in the Medway Messenger:
I was scared about doing something so crazy on the street – I mean you can get arrested.
And should be.
And here's a quote from the write-up at This is Kent:
Kent police in Medway were made aware of the planned filming, prior to
the event taking place.
And didn't stop it!?
Disconcerting, isn't it, that rather than seeking to dissuade young people from exercising their authoritarian views in a way that frankly amounts to straightforward robbery, a school in this country is encouraging them to do so and empowering them with video equipment, funding and a rent-a-prat "teacher" to boot? We supposedly live in a pluralist society, in which the views and wishes of a minority can be respected. Live and let live. Instead, the "tolerance" of these self-appointed minor Stasi of course extends solely to the things of which they approve. Beyond that, they film themselves cackling away as they intrude upon and assault those with whom they disagree. It is with good reason Winston Smith and co constantly fear betrayal by the youth League and the Junior Spies, as children swallow Big Brother's propaganda most keenly in 1984.
Lest you think that I'm misinterpreting a set-up which occurred as part of a drama exercise, this quote from the teacher makes it clear that the "ciggy busters" extended their attacks beyond their own stool pigeons:
I knew we could not really go and film in public and attack people
in that way and take goods off of them, so we devised a cunning plan.
We planted some people and we started with them. People were
watching and following us and at the end we tried with some other people.
So you did go and attack people "in that way" and "take goods off of (ahem, from) them." Name and shame time: the school's "mentor" for the project is Italian media artist Margherita Gramegna. Perhaps in Italy "media artist" is how one spells "idiot."
This is a remarkable and quite disgraceful story. Law-abiding people in Kent are being robbed on the street, with the tacit approval of the local constabulary. The mob action is part of an ongoing scheme from the school and
is going to continue in September.
Shame on you, Kent Police. Shame on you, the school!
Hat tip: Phil