I could have filed this one under “Tales of Modern Life”, it is certainly further confirmation that modern life is rubbish.
A council uses powers drawn up to tackle serious crime and terrorism to spy on a family seeking a school place for their 3 year-old daughter.
For almost three weeks Poole Borough Council kept the family under surveillance using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), watching them on six occasions and keeping logs with entries such as “female and three children enter target vehicle and drive off” and “curtains open and all lights on in premises”.
Little wonder the family are furious and the local authority has been criticised by Liberty.
There are undoubtedly serious questions regarding civil liberties that this story raises. If local authorities feel able to use the RIPA powers to spy on families seeking a school place what other investigations could we face?
Putting the wrong items in recycling bins would be my favourite at the moment.
But it also further highlights the severe pressures faced by parents and children these days. With schools still wilfully breaking admissions rules, parents are having to come up with ever-more devious and determined efforts to secure the place they want for the apple of their eye.
It is more than a lottery, the struggle for school places is shaping up into an increasingly dirty fight.
It doesn’t matter who the winners of this fight are, the main losers are the children caught up in the middle.
Pity the poor parents who feel compelled to try any trick necessary to secure their child’s future.
But pity the child even more.
The pressure to justify their parents’ actions is being felt at an increasingly early – in the Poole case, just 3 years-old – which means the potential for lasting damage is increased that little bit more.
Modern life is rubbish. But we’ve only got ourselves to blame.