How to challenge authority in schools: a beginner’s guide

Clio et cetera

There has been a bit of chatter on social media recently about whether or not the authority of a teacher or a school ought to be challenged. Words such as ‘fascist’ and ‘authoritarian’ have been thrown around. Schools have been compared to Nazi concentration camps, and, by implication, the professionals who work in those schools have been compared to the perpetrators of the Holocaust. Now there are a few radicals out there who make these comparisons to attract attention, but I think we should recognise that there are people who have a genuine concern that schools model the values of liberal democracy.

Some caution needs to be exercised here. Living in a liberal democracy does not mean that the majority can have their way in any situation: if I take a taxi with friends we cannot ‘vote’ against paying our fare. Liberal democracies rely on laws, contracts and structures of…

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