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Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:44 pm
Jesus said, 'With man it is impossible but with God all things are possible.'
Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:52 pm
"Father forgive them for they know not what they do"
Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:43 pm
Nice to hear from you after so many years. I appreciate what you are saying, but while love and forgiveness are nice sentiments, many feel a need for more practical action to be taken.
New versus old pupils is not the issue for the majority of people here. This is a sideline of misunderstanding that has only recently developed.
Threads offering avenues for level-headed discussion, understanding and resolution are open to all on this site: people only have to make the effort to look and contribute.
What the majority of people here are concerned with is taking practical steps to stop the abuses that happened in the past from recurring. This, for most, is not about revenge. This is about social responibility
Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:02 pm
Nice to hear from you.
I welcome your perspective, although I dont subscribe to the church as it too has it's past abuses.
I would find it interesting how you stand on the sexual abuses that happen in the church and the role of forgiveness in ensuring their cessation.
I think forgiveness is a very powerful tool, led by compassion, however I think that dogma of any sort can blind people to the need for action at times in conjunction with faith in the power of Jesus.
I think the SES' dogma blinded them to the need to put an end to the physical abuse that led to this enquiry, and it is soley their dogma that continues to prevent them from seeing that the position of the governors is now untennable.
Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:37 am
The principles that Thomas was putting forward are good ones for guiding action.
Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:25 pm
I have been reading extracts from this site for some time and thought I should make a contribution. I have been a member of the SES (no one I know calls it SoES) for 25 years from the age of 16 on the encouragement of my brother who is also still a member. Neither of us were ever pupils at St James or St Vedast. Nonetheless, I feel closely associated with the school as my wife was a pupil there; I helped with the St James Cadets for 12 years and was a member of the Friends committee for some time until about a year ago. My wife has taught at both the Junior and Senior Girls School twice for relatively short periods.
I think I know some of the contributors - certainly Sam who was one of my cadets - please don't judge him by his atrocious spelling, he is great company, passionate about life and more sensitive than he would let on - so go easy on him. Keir - are you Keir [surname removed at request of Keir - Daffy]? If so then we were in the same group for a while. I distinctly remember the jokes that left us sheltered Comprehensive educated lads speechless - they were that revolting! Hope you are well.
The reason I have not contributed in the past is because when someone posted a positive view of St James or the SES they were often set upon as if by a pack of wolves. This seems to have abated a little of late.
I also believe that those who do not know St James or life in the SES now were hearing largely one view without the benefit of a counter view.
I have spoken to my wife a lot about her education and her views are very mixed. She remembers a climate of fear and the level of academic education was certainly erratic - the fact that she thought the Falklands Islands laid just off the Isle of Wight bears testament to that (sorry Ros)! By no means are all her views negative, she had some wonderful teachers and some very happy memories. She also has many friends she went to school with that she is still extremely close to and not just those who are still in SES.
I have read many of these posts from ex-pupils, some are clearly unembellished honest accounts of things that should never have happened and cannot fail to move those who read them. There are others that I feel give a very jaundiced, inaccurate and vitriolic view. I do have an innate belief that most people can tell the difference. If I had had the type of schooling that some people describe I would have been deeply affected. The education that was received was beyond the control of the pupils - how they deal with it afterwards is thankfully their choice.
I try (but often fail) to ask myself what the motive is behind what I think and do. I believe that some contributors want to express and discuss their experiences and for the school to recognize that there were wrongdoings in the past. A few however (though they certainly would not admit it) would love to see St James collapse. A few others would love to see the SES collapse and for some probably both! This is not expressed directly but is underlies all their postings.
I would emphasise that there was a clear case to answer and St James, in my view, have genuinely tried to approach it in an honest way with a sincere wish to be reconciled with those who had such a torrid time. I would take issue with what nilsabn said in his response to (removed by request) comments about love and forgiveness by effectively saying they are not practical. They are practical sentiments and many millions practice them daily. The most obvious example to me is Nelson Mandela who suffered persecution far beyond what we can imagine. Upon becoming President he instigated a commission called Truth and Reconciliation, not revenge and retribution. I honestly believe that that was vital in preventing that Country from descending in to civil war.
I had a very mixed education myself and was hit on occasion, there were great teachers and there were terrible teachers. I remember once two teachers taking me to their office and telling me they were a Gnats wotsits away from smashing my face in! Nice. What I am trying to say is that we all have a choice in how we cope with the past, yes it has to be faced by the individual, that is essential but I am not going to be consumed by that most pernicious sentiment - righteous anger. That?s the anger that keeps nations feuding for centuries. If I had written down all the wrongs I had experienced (carefully omitting all the wrongs I had committed of course) then I am sure I could persuade myself to become very bitter but that is not how I want to go to the grave. For those who genuinely want to be reconciled with the past I would strongly encourage them to contact the Governors and tell them everything - directly from the heart.
I would welcome any constructive responses and would be very happy to meet anyone on a one-to-one basis to discuss anything about the SES as the environment there has (by necessity) changed enormously in the most positive way where free and open discussion exists! In fact I would say there has been a silent revolution these past ten years (perhaps that should read evolution). I have not been coerced to write this by anyone and the views are entirely my own.
I wish you all well.
Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:36 pm
Thank you for your comments Patrick
If you enjoy the SES, that is entirely up to you. People can believe what they want as far as I'm concerned - as long as it doesn't affect me or others. Unfortunately, it was SES beliefs, even if they were out of date ones, that caused me and many others so much mental and physical anguish. Your organisation prides itself on virtue and I know many SES members are perfectly good people. However, as an organisation, I think the SES's more public representatives ought to live up to the values that it preaches.
The old SES tactic of putting blame on the victim doesn?t surprise me here. 'Righteous anger', 'civil war'? I don't think my posts on this site are about to bring the nation to its knees somehow Patrick. It might upset the cosy little world of the SES a bit, point out to them and others that they're not the perfect organisation they'd like to think they are, sure. But then, that's why you'd like us to shut up and go away. It would all be so much easier for you. I don't need a lecture in the virtues of forgiveness either, thank you. I have refrained from signing the open letter, so far, because I thought Mr Hipshon, at least, had showed some decency in making an apology to us. I am disappointed with the rest however.
Might I suggest that a lesson in virtue might be better directed at the governors and other SES personnel who were found culpable of the past abuses and who have made no show of remorse. Surely the governors, and those other SES members of the school, ought to live up to the values that they're so proud of claiming they've instilled into young minds. Indeed, I am told that those governors and ex teachers who were responsible for the abuse shouldn't go, because they are instrumental in upholding the ethos of the school. Really? Do they just happen to be above those moral principles themselves? I didn't see much love, forgiveness or compassion from the likes of Mr Debenham or Ms Caldwell. Nor, in recent times, have I seen them display any humility, courage, nobility or any other virtues for that matter. It is not my intent to harm St James or its children. In fact, I believe that getting rid of those who have brought it into such ill repute, and who refuse make proper amends, would improve the image of the school no end!
As for the so-called public apology, it is nothing more than an insincere PR exercise as far I can see. Did you not notice that the SES is called the SoES in that statement by the way? The reason why is as obviously transparent as the fact that, following bad press in the past, the governors saw fit to appoint a political spin-doctor as the headmaster of the boys school. Changing the SES acronym is just another indicator of the governors? lack of any real sincerity and honesty. In presenting their ?unconditional? apology (on a little website that many people, including a good number of those to whom they owe an apology, will never see), the governors seem more intent on glossing over the real extent of the abuse. Yet, I can safely say from experience, that the violence went a great deal further than an incident with a blackboard rubber once, - the word 'criminal was used by Mr Townend QC, and for those of us who were there, rightly so. Furthermore, for the governors to then call those whom they are supposedly trying to reconcile a group of hard-line activists in a follow up report is really putting icing on the cake! Sorry, Patrick, but sincerity and honesty are virtues that the governors of St James need to learn! As I said before, you need to teach virtues to those closer to home.
I thank you for your views none the less.
Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:12 pm
Lovely to hear from you, albeit a little surprising on this BB.
A quality post, I hope it is received in the way you describe! Hear from you soon, all the best,
Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:35 pm
Hope your well, good to hear from you. Im still in NZ and still having a great time. Hope to see you at AinA, at the wine tasting tent.
Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 8:42 pm
Like Ros I have some happy memories and had some wonderful teachers. I have never argued that it was or is all bad.
However there is a serious difference between what is being claimed and what it being done.
The apology, hidden away on a tiny website that a small minority of the people they need to apologise to will ever see - if they're really serious why don't they take out an ad in the Independent? Why is it that a year down the line there are still people whose addresses are known by the schools who haven't been contacted? Not even when they have written directly to the governors - so much for that offer!
I read much self praise in the school prospectus for an ethos that apparently helps boys grow into "courageous and ethical leaders"? Where is the the practical demonstration and application of the principle. How exactly are they taking responsibility for their lack of judgement and the pain it caused.
All the assertions that are made here by people claiming that everything is 'nice' now, while I am sure they are made sincerely in most cases are totally meaningless. I attempted reconciliation and they stamped all over me all over again. BTW I don't for one moment believe that the governors don't have a very clear idea of my identity, however I will continue to remain anonymous on this board because I have no desire to exact revenge - my family mean more to me than anything and they would be desperately hurt to hear the true extent of what I went through, not all of which is detailed in my posts.
Yes, the memories of how SES (or SoES as it is referred to on iirep) has no respect for privileged information were confirmed only recently by my direct experience. So please don't make promises that you expect other people to keep, you don't have the authority to do this.
Finally - Sam, James, Theo, Wildone etc (who I understand to be current and recent pupils) have ALL made comments supporting the ex-pupils who feel that more still needs to be done. These range from severing the links with SES to firing the governors. This is what CURRENT pupils want.
Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 9:58 pm
You must have forgotten that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist before he was banged up for all those years. I would suggest that it was his anger that kept him alive for many of the years that he spent in prison, as it turned out righteous anger. His wife was in many news reports shown as the 'strong' woman in the background, fighting hard to release her unjustly imprisoned man, but she was not above making some criminal friends and getting involved in some very dodgy dealings during his incarceration.
So all is not what it seems about that example.
If your experience of the SES is cushty then fab, but please, as Nilsabm said, please don't give out lectures about moral behaviour. If you were concerned about this board and the stories of abuse on it, did you do anything about it? Do you think that posting your rosy experience somehow will stop people feeling as they do about current SES members acting irresponsibly, arrogantly, and with more than one eye on the press rather than the situation in hand.
If you can't see what the problem is, ask, don't tell me what it isn't.
Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:03 pm
Merry wrote:I would welcome any constructive responses and would be very happy to meet anyone on a one-to-one basis to discuss anything about the SES
In what capacity would you be making that offer?
Are you a representative of the governors or is you stand entirely personal?
Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:38 pm
Merry, I have edited your post above at Keir's request to remove his surname. It is not considered proper to use the real name of another user where they do not give this information in their own posts. The anonymity of other users should be respected even if their identity is obvious.
Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:02 am
Keir gave his surname in an introductory post way back when.
Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 9:16 am
Keir, Stanton is quite correct (apologies to Merry). If you are concerned about your full name appearing on this board, use the search function at the top of the screen and you'll find at least one instance where you yourself give your full name. You can edit it to remove that information if you wish.