YOUNG VOICES

1,000 Pupils Caught With Weapons In Schools, Including Meat Cleavers And Axes

23/04/2014 12:23 BST | Updated 23/04/2014 12:59 BST
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Nearly 1,000 students have been caught with weapons in schools, including axes, stun guns and a meat cleaver, during the past three years, an investigation has revealed.

Other weapons found on the 981 schoolchildren were knives, hand guns and a cut-throat razor, according to Sky News, who carried out the research. The pupils include 80 primary school children, with an eight-year-old being caught carrying a knife.

One 18-year-old told Sky: "I carried a weapon ... but only because of the environment I was in.

"My generation is a bit wild ... so it's a normal thing to carry a weapon because you know everyone else is. It's making it fair, basically."

But the research is unlikely to reflect the scale of the problem, as 21 of the UK's 52 police forces, who were questioned under the Freedom of Information Act, did not supply figures.

Chris Douglas, a youth worker with St Giles Trust, a group that engages with young people caught up in crime added: "We're not hearing about stabbings because they're becoming more common."

HuffPost UK has previously spoken to parents of schoolchildren murdered by gangs, who say teenagers are not giving enough education about the dangers of carrying weapons.

Yvonne Lawson, a teacher at a primary school in North London, was left devastated after her son was knifed to death in the street. "Children as young as five are already being drawn into gangs," she said. "They need to be taught respect. It is so important for younger children to have social skills.

"Some of them have no way of communicating which leads to all this challenging behaviour. I know some schools are very protective of their young pupils and don’t want to even mention the word knife. But they see violence all around them. So why shouldn’t they learn about it? We can’t protect children forever. We can address violence positively."

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "Teachers can now search pupils without consent, confiscate prohibited items and use force to remove disruptive pupils from the classroom when necessary,"

"We've also given heads the final say on expulsions by removing the right of appeal panels to put pupils back in the classroom."

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said: "These are disturbing figures. They indicate a serious problem which needs to be addressed, including finding out why some pupils feel it is either necessary or appropriate to bring weapons into school."