Differing standards?

BBC NEWS: Abuse conviction concerns raised

This story is about a man who had been in court as an expert prosecution witness in the trial of two staff members at a school for disturbed teenagers in Ayrshire (Scotland), but was not called to give evidence after voicing his dissatisfaction with some of the prosecution’s evidence. The men in question may or not be guilty, but this paragraph is particularly telling:

He claimed the staff at Kerelaw were judged by standards of behaviour which did not apply in the 1980s and 90s, when the abuse was supposed to have happened.

Back then the idea of the short, sharp shock was in favour. This would have included restraint techniques which would not be acceptable today.

I was in a special boarding school (Kesgrave Hall in Suffolk, not Kerelaw) from 1989 to 1993, which is the time period under discussion. Corporal punishment in schools had been made illegal in 1987, but at my school, physical violence was common. Older boys, including prefects, dished it out with impunity, sometimes in public, and some of the staff members were foul-mouthed, surly and sometimes physically abusive as well. I remember a care worker issuing public foul-mouthed rants and threatening to “beat the shit out of” someone if he caught them spreading rumours about him.

Throwing kids round rooms was not socially acceptable in the late 1980s and 1990s. These people did it because they thought they could get away with it - and they did. I don’t know about the situation at Kerelaw, but the picture fits perfectly with what I know.

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