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A Terrifying Letter Home from School February 6, 2013

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.

My 8 year old brought this letter home from school earlier in the week. I had to read it a number of times just to make sure I was reading it correctly.
It really is one crazy fucked up world out there.

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1. Starkadder - February 6, 2013

The simple thing would be to refuse to allow under-12s access
to a mobile phone, but in our-hyper-consumerist society I fear
many parents would be reluctant to take such a step.


WorldbyStorm - February 6, 2013

I agree. I’d be very loathe to give a kid under 12 a mobile. Actually I wouldn’t do it except in extraordinary circumstances. Asking for trouble.


2. TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - February 6, 2013

I’d have to re-read it again and scratch my head in bewilderment if it was in comic sans.

But yeah majorly fucked up. When I was in primary school the most dangerous thing would be playing british bulldog.


Joe - February 6, 2013

British bulldog? Tell us about that. We didn’t have it in Raheny in the 60s.


Dr. X - February 6, 2013

I think we called it “Free Pad” in 80s Mayo.


WorldbyStorm - February 6, 2013

Was that the same as relivio in the 1970s?


TheOtherRiverR(h)ine - February 7, 2013

Participants would line up on one end of the field or ground. One participant (“the bulldog”) would stand in front of the participants a distance away. He/she would then call someone by name who’d have to try and get past him to the other side of the field or ground. Once he/she got past the bulldog everyone would run to the other side. If the bulldog caught someone then that person would be the new bulldog.

It was acceptable for the bulldog to drag or tackle someone to the ground hence the odd cut or bruise.


WorldbyStorm - February 7, 2013

Not quite the same as relivio then. This is from Sheffield. I’d love to know how it worked that relivio was played in across Dublin in the late 1960s and early 1970s and for all I know today too…



LeftAtTheCross - February 7, 2013

I vaguely remember relivio.

That hide’n’seek game we called it ‘kick the can’ in Kilmacud. My kids out here in Meath call it ’40 40′.


WorldbyStorm - February 7, 2013

Relivio was great. Seriously, lots of running about. The yard in NS was composed of big square concrete areas perhaps 10 x 10 foot which made for perfect ‘bases’ or whatever.


Eamonn Crudden - February 7, 2013

When I was 12 we had a local boxing club out the country that the adults eventually got bored of supervising. We kept it going – all boys between 12-16 years old. Dangerous – but fun. Group against group boxing with no gloves and no adults. No mobiles to be called home on.


Dr.Nightdub - February 7, 2013

So basically Fight Club?


3. Blissett - February 6, 2013

There used be a thing a bit like that some of them used do in my school (im 23, so this isnt terribly long ago). Used call them ‘friendship burns’. They used scratch and scratch with a coin until it was red raw, and then pour one those ink cartridges for fountains pens on the scab. The sore would stay blue for a week or two then.
The fellas used do it more than the girls, think it was a thing of looking hard or something. Mad actually when I think back.


4. Labello - February 6, 2013

I dont know what is worse, the fact that the letter is typed in Comic Sans or the stupidity of the kids.


5. Matthew Galvin - February 6, 2013

Some points I have to raise:
1. Comic Sans
2. Scratching the shit outta your hand is incredibly stupid
3. “Inter-net” Implies this teacher knows little about the Internet, the Kids are possibly emailing, Facebook posting or Tweeting the pictures, “group texts” are a thing that I don’t think happen anymore.
4. Related to 3, a phone with access to the internet isn’t dangerous, IF the parents use the built in parental control to stop unwanted browsing or contact.


6. Dr. X - February 6, 2013

I was struck by the phrase “a craze that seems to have hit us”. Why “seems to have hit”? Either it has hit or it has not hit: it’s quite possible that this story is true, but it’s also possible that someone has fallen for an urban legend, and confused it with the truth.


WorldbyStorm - February 6, 2013

Interesting question. I see the letter writer says s/he saw the wounds. So it is possible that it’s true but very localised. A brief search found this… from 2009



7. Patrice - February 7, 2013

I think it is commendable that a school is prepared to stand up and tell parents what is happening (even if they write in Comic Sans – God get over yourselves – it would be all so simple if all we had to worry about is the font we write it). I, as a parent, would be very grateful that I was made aware of what my daughter was exposed to in school and be given an opportunity to curtail the activity before it really is a problem. Too many schools bury their heads in the sand and only act on the problem when there is a formal complaint. I am a parent in the area that this happened and yes the letter is real . Mathew – if you have kids you better brush up on your knowledge base – the kids are now sending group texts by viber and it is free!


WorldbyStorm - February 7, 2013

I wouldn’t doubt that it’s taken place, Patrice, or that the basis for the letter is real. How widespread it is is a different issue. Is it happening in more than one school or number of schools in an area. It would be interesting to know.


dmfod - February 7, 2013

I think the letter says more about an older generation’s incomprehension and instinctive fear of a younger generation’s culture than anything else. You can be alarmist and call it ‘self- harm’ but in anthropological terms it sounds pretty much like a classic bonding/group initiation ritual. When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s we did probably a mire dangerous thing where you pressed on someone’s chest until they fainted. I can’t remember what it was called but it had some weird name. The rest of thw letter is just the usual moral panic about social media.


8. Liberation Jumpsuit - February 7, 2013

The above was called a sleeper – where a person’s breathing was restricted until they blacked out – good fun and only a few lives lost


9. Patrice - February 7, 2013

dmfod – I am stunned that you would state this as an older generation’s incompreshension and instinctive fear – the writer of the letter is only making wise recommendations such as parents putting a curfew on phones for young children. Tell the parents of children who have been cyber bullied that they have an older generation incomprehension and instinctive fear of a younger generation’s culture than anything else. Our current generation are now meeting up to 20 boys or girls at Wesley disco and lately when the girls can’t meet a boy they meet each other. Yes girls meeting girls at aged 14-15. Tell me that I have an older generations incomprehension and instinctive fear of a younger generations culture than anything else. Our youth need good and wise parental guidance .


Branno's ultra-left t-shirt - February 8, 2013

I was always meeting people when I was a teenager, fellas, girls, old people, men, women, the odd dog or cat, what’s the big deal, sure you can hardly leave the house without meeting people. What’s the big deal with meeting people?


10. dmfod - February 7, 2013

I just think every generation thinks the next one is so much ‘worse’, or worse off, than they were in their own innocent youth and I don’t think things really change as much as people think. Each generation has different mores they think are ‘normal’ and most people survive adolescence more or less intact. There’s documents fom Roman times with people scandalised about the youth!

There have also been horror stories like the one you mention going around for years and I’d be sceptical that everyone is going around ‘meeting’ 20 people every night.

I also think there’s something a bit homophobic in how you seem to reserve a special moral outrage for girls ‘meeting’ girls. I would think that’s actually a progressive development -unless they’re just doing it to show off in front off the boys, which I would find icky, but hardly worse than the level of bullying you would have been subjected to in my all girls’ school if anyone so much as suspected you had the slightest sexual interest in girls.


LeftAtTheCross - February 8, 2013

+1 dmfod

There are teenagers in our house and to hear the odd snippet of the conversations really things haven’t changed much at all since my generation at least. There are always extreme outliers in behaviour of course, but generally I’m of the same opinion as yourself that the pattern of elders being horrified at the behaviour of the youth probably preceeds even the Romans.


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