GENDER ISSUES AT SCHOOL – EPISODE 1

fee paying school

Written by Graham Perry

Graham Perry M.A. Cantab FCIArb Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer

24 August 2021

MEDIATION #164

This narrative is set in a City Centre fee-paying school for boys + girls. The class of 24 know that the Teacher – Mr Jackson – will arrive 15 minutes late. No problem. He sets the children – all 14-year-olds – the task of reading quietly to themselves HG Wells First Men on the Moon. It does not work out as intended + Mr Jackson is greeted with quite raucous behaviour. He is annoyed. He orders the girls in the class to come to the classroom at 4 pm to write out the School Rules x 10. The boys are to come at 4.30 and then, in a throwaway line, he casually says – “And those of you who do not know whether you are one or the other, come to the classroom at 5 pm.”

5 pm comes – the boys tumble out of the class has completed their School Rules. Mr Jackson is tidying the classroom when one of the pupils, Jason, opens the classroom door. “Please Sir, I am not sure if I am a boy or a girl”. As Jason enters, the teacher becomes aware of some of the boys giggling outside the door.

Mr Jackson, aged 37 + happily married with two young children is taken aback. He tries to regain his composure. He invites Jason to sit down. Being an understanding teacher, he asks Jason to tell him more. Jason is nervous + his words are faltering. It emerges that he has not discussed this previously with anyone – not parents, not siblings/friend. He thinks some of the other pupils know of his gender thoughts. Mr Jackson listens – quite intently – but is unsure what to do next. He buys time + suggests to Jason that the two talk the following day.

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