The respected American academic Henry Giroux is correct when he says that schools are failing their pupils if they do not provide the opportunity for discussion of disasters that dominate the news.
Professor Giroux says that if such issues are ignored, then “school becomes irrelevant – it becomes dead time”. That conclusion is an exaggeration, but the professor has a point. Learning will be more successful, and relevant, if it acknowledges harsh realities.
But the statement does not mean that Scottish schools are all at fault. Many schools take an enlightened attitude to current events, and encourage children to talk about incidents which may have shocked and frightened them.
The days of uncomfortable silence are over, with schools having recognised that the availability of news and proliferation of smartphones means that more children are up to date with current events than ever before.
Academic standards may leave much to be desired at the moment, but attitudes towards the real world are light years ahead of that experienced by previous generations.