Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Bald Truth about Our School's Cue-Ball Kid

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

The Bald Truth about Our School's Cue-Ball Kid

Article excerpt

Our new table lamp arrived in a box the size of a small car. On the outside, red warnings reminded everyone that the contents were fragile. Little martini glasses indicated which way round it should be held. Inside, as an added precaution, someone had wrapped half a kilometre of bubble wrap around a much smaller box that contained the actual lamp. This, in turn, was securely encased in blocks of moulded polystyrene.

If all fragile things were handled with this level of extreme care the world would be a safer (if less environmentally friendly) place to live. But accidental damage happens, and the consequences are often serious. And because we can't put children in bubble wrap (the dangers of suffocation outweigh any safety benefits), teachers are often left picking up the pieces of broken ones and gluing them back together again.

Dayne is the latest victim of accidental damage. You could tell something was wrong when he arrived, on the warmest day of the year so far, with his head buried deep in the confines of his winter coat. His mum told us this was the only way he'd come to school. In class, he still refused to remove it and reveal the actual cause of his distress.

It was only in the quiet of the cloakroom, and after considerable coaxing, that Dayne allowed his mum to peel his hood back and expose the awful truth. It was worse than any of us imagined. Gasps of disbelief were stifled and replaced by soothing words of encouragement as one by one we took in the terrible reality of what had happened to him. …

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