Primary school children recruited to fight war on smoking
Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 20:17
Simon Clark

I recorded a short interview for ITV Calendar News this afternoon.

It was in response to this story – 'Barnsley schoolchildren urge parents not to smoke':

Children from a primary school in Barnsley are urging parents to think twice before smoking around school grounds.

The 'peaceful protest' by pupils at Laithes Primary School is part of the 'Breathe 2025' campaign - and the council's vision to make the borough a smoke-free zone.

A 'peaceful playground protest' by primary school children, none of whom would be older than eleven. What the hell's going on?

The first word that came to mind was 'exploitation'. How dare the council use children in this way.

One, I doubt very much that many of the children would have given a moment's thought to parents smoking 'around the school grounds' until they found themselves taking part in a staged 'playground protest'.

Two, can you imagine the pressure this puts on the young children of parents who do smoke? Effectively they are being press-ganged into fighting the council's war on smoking.

Three, I'm pretty sure most headteachers have many more things to concern them than a handful of parents smoking outside the school gates.

If the words 'Barnsley Council' sound familiar it's because I wrote about the council only a couple of weeks ago. (See 'Trouble at market' and 'Hypocrites!'.

It's clear that councillors are determined to create a 'smoke free' borough, whatever that means, and they'll do whatever it takes to achieve it, even if it means putting market traders out of business or exploiting children in local primary schools.

What a truly disgusting thing to do.

Update: Just seen this on Twitter. Note the way the woman with the megaphone is coaching the children to chant "Keep our schools smoke free".

Kids in #Barnsley are taking a stand against parents smoking in their school grounds. @LaithesAcademy are launching a smoke free campaign

— Hallam FM News (@hallamfmnews) May 16, 2018
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