Headteacher says young people also hate cancel culture

Headteacher says young people also hate cancel culture
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Luke Ridley

By Luke Ridley

Published: 09/12/2021

- 09:15

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 11:54

South Hampstead High School Headteacher Vicky Bingham says her students admitted they 'did not want to grow up in an echo chamber' and wanted to discuss difficult issues.

Many young people hate cancel culture and roll their eyes at zealotry, according Vicky Bingham, of South Hampstead High School in north London

She said, 'Adults should embrace their children’s passion and be glad that they are “galvanising” and discussing more important issues and causes than just pop music.

“Let’s not reduce 21st-century burning issues to a simple generational conflict. Many of the young people I know abhor ‘cancel culture’,” she said.

Her school has introduced more conversation and discussions on controversial issues after pupils told staff they “did not want to grow up in an echo chamber” and admitted to self-censoring.

“They see it as performative, virtue-signalling and frightening. They would much rather focus on meaningful action than on grand sweeping statements or policing of language".

“They hate discrimination, they are apologetic if they make mistakes, but they will roll their eyes as much as the older generation if faced with what they view as an especially zealous approach.”

The school’s former pupils include the actress Angela Lansbury, Helena Bonham Carter and the author Fay Weldon.

Bingham said when she was at school herself her friends wore black armbands when Take That broke up and she's was glad the pupils she's teaching were involved in important causes, such as climate change and discrimination.

“I realised that it was time to be braver myself and to start encouraging open discussion about questions which should be within the realm of reasonable debate in schools,” she said. “Did JK Rowling deserve to be cancelled? Is equality or equity a fairer principle? Do university students deserve protection from views which make them feel ‘unsafe’? Are teachers who ask pupils to stop rolling their skirts up guilty of promoting ‘rape culture’?

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