Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

Top Scottish judge: rape victims “should not attend court”

Scotland’s most senior judge, Lord Carloway, “told the BBC his ‘ultimate objective’ was for alleged [rape] victims to be able to give filmed statements within 24 hours. The judge also said their cross-examination should take place well before the trial and away from court.” The idea would presumably be a non-starter in the United States owing to our constitution’s Confrontation Clause. [Lucy Adams, BBC]

Schools roundup

  • Georgia sheriff mass-frisks 900 students at a high school. Is that legal? [Scott Greenfield, Lowering the Bar]
  • Federal judge dismisses “clock boy” discrimination suit against Dallas-area school district [CBS News]
  • Ilya Shapiro on Gloucester County v. G.G., the transgender school bathroom Title IX case [Federalist Society]
  • Social worker on public reaction against Named Person program in Scotland: families “had wanted a single point of contact for parents,” but Scottish government instead created “point of contact about parents” [No2NP campaign, earlier]
  • “In places like New York City, schools have made it more difficult for principals to suspend disruptive or threatening students. The results? Increased violence, drug use, and gang activity, according to the Manhattan Institute’s Max Eden.” [Hans Bader/CEI, Eden paper, related on national policy]
  • Rethink your assumptions about Betsy DeVos’s appointees [Erica L. Green, New York Times] More on appointee Candice Jackson [George Leef, Martin Center, earlier]

U.K. high court rules against Scottish “Named Person” scheme

“Judges at the UK’s highest court have ruled against the Scottish government’s Named Person scheme….The system would appoint a named person – usually a teacher or health visitor – to ensure the wellbeing of every child. Judges say some proposals breach rights to privacy and a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.” They say that insecurity of data could endanger children’s privacy rights and that the bill goes beyond the legislative powers of the devolved Scottish parliament. The government of Scotland has indicated that it intends to implement the scheme in some form after addressing the court’s objections. [BBC; earlier; my Cato piece]

Schools and childhood roundup

  • In the mail: “No Child Left Alone: Getting the Government Out of Parenting,” forthcoming book by Abby Wisse Schachter [more: Pittsburgh Tribune Eric Heyl interview]
  • Neighbor reports Winnipeg mom to child services for letting kids play in fenced-in back yard [Canadian Press/National Post via Amy Alkon]
  • “Public space in Germany is not held hostage by liability lawsuits; Berlin playgrounds are not designed by lawyers.” And they’re awesome [Anna Winger, New York Times]
  • Controversy intensifies further on Scotland’s Named Person scheme [Scottish Mail on Sunday (“complete stranger” will be assigned as Named Person to each child over school holidays), Gerald Warner/CapX, earlier here and here]
  • Omar Mateen’s road to becoming a security guard: “He had issues. All the records were discarded by the school system, per statute. Clearly, if his employer had access to his juvenile record, he would be the last person to own a weapon.” [Yahoo]
  • Kansas Supreme Court orders state legislature to increase funding for poor districts [ABA Journal, earlier here, here, etc.]
  • Left-right cooperation on school reform begins to break down amid demands to toe social justice line [Robert Pondiscio]

International free speech roundup

  • Tonight in New York City, Cato presents its Milton Friedman Award to Danish journalist Flemming Rose, a key figure in the [still-ongoing] Mohammed cartoons episode, and author of The Tyranny of Silence [David Boaz, Cato]
  • Troubles in Turkey: journalists sentenced to two years in jail for reprinting Charlie Hebdo cover [Reuters, Reason] Erdogan’s campaign against foreign critics assumes extraterritorial reach with complaints against comedian in Germany and Geneva exhibit [Colin Cortbus/Popehat, Foreign Policy]
  • Ya mad wee dafty: “Man faces hate crime charge in Scotland over dog’s ‘Nazi salute'” [Guardian]
  • Publish a “wrong” map of India, face seven years in jail and a huge fine [Hindustan Times; “crore” = 10 million]
  • United Kingdom man fined £500 for calling romantic rival “fat-bellied codhead. [Blackpool Gazette]
  • Emulating USA tycoon D. Trump, China pressures finance analysts against negative forecasts [WSJ, Barron’s on the Marvin Roffman story, which I used to tell when giving speeches on my book The Litigation Explosion]

Free speech roundup

Scotland’s Named Person controversy heats up

We’ve warned for a while about the scheme in Scotland to appoint a state functionary, a so-called Named Person, to look after the interests of every child — not just every child in state care or for whom there are indicia of dangerous neglect or abuse, but every child, period. Now the results are coming in from early rollout of the scheme in some parts of the country. [The Scotsman]

[The professor’s] shock was compounded by the fact that work on this dossier, known as a Family Record, had started without his knowledge. He had only discovered its existence by accident long after the details of his home life had begun to be recorded. Furthermore, it was only after an eight-month battle with his local health board that he managed to obtain a redacted version of the document, which began to be compiled after an acrimonious break-up with his wife which led to a protracted legal row over access to their two children.

Initially pushed through with little opposition, the plan is now causing political grief for the ruling Scottish Nationalist Party of Nicola Sturgeon. Ruth Davidson, leader of the third-place Scottish Conservative Party, has called for rethinking the scheme, and now Scottish Labour Party leader Kezia Dugdale has suggested a halt to its implementation, while still favoring it in principle. The scheme is set to become effective for Scotland as a whole on August 1.

Tragic cases like that of 11-week-old Caleb Ness, the Edinburgh baby killed by his father despite the involvement of social work and health staff, have convinced the Scottish Government that action has to be taken. Indeed, the Named Person approach has the support of many organisations within civic Scotland, including children’s charities and teaching unions, who believe it will help struggling families and prevent tragedies…. In general, health visitors will act as Named Persons for pre-school children, with head teachers taking up the mantle as they get older.

Where not redacted, the 60-page file on the professor’s family had included observations on his children appearing to have diaper rash and runny noses not cleaned for a while, and observed the father “did not appear to take advice on board fully” regarding the thumb-sucking habit of his younger son:

“I find it sinister. I find it very creepy. I find it chilling,” he said. “They just hoover up all of this hearsay and then collate it into huge documents and on to databases. Under the new legislation all sorts of people have access to these databases. All they need is four or five reasons for intervention and they can hoover up information from any database and there is no control over whether this is true or not.”

[cross-posted at Cato at Liberty]

International free expression roundup

  • More on Venezuela suit in U.S. against Dolar Today, publication that reports black market exchange rates [WSJ, earlier]
  • Sehr vorsichtig: “nearly half of all Germans are afraid to voice their opinion about the refugee crisis” [Malte Lehming, National Interest via Andrew Stuttaford]
  • Professor in Norway calls for “statutory ban on climate denialism.” [Steven T. Corneliussen/Physics Today, background]
  • Scottish newspaper The National to endorse criminalizing “hate speech against women” [@ScotNational] Feminist groups in Scotland and Australia call for legal action to prevent meetups of followers of “pick-up artist” and general-purpose boor Dariush Valizadeh [Sydney Morning Herald]
  • Debate on whether Donald Trump should be allowed to enter Great Britain because he sounds too much like a Kipper “exposes the hypocrisy of those who seem the most indignant” [Ian O’Doherty] Maryam Namazie case too: “On both sides of the Atlantic, there has been a noticeable shift toward a more censorious culture.” [Kenan Malik] Make a point of defending free expression and you’ll wind up cozy with odd ducks “simply because it’s the right thing to do” [Ian O’Doherty]
  • On anniversary of Charlie Hebdo massacre, two more pieces serve to correct the Garry Trudeau view of the French magazine [Robert McLiam Wilson, Adam Gopnik]
  • Toronto man found not guilty in widely watched Twitter harassment trial [National Post, earlier]

Schools and childhood roundup

  • “Someone could have put their hand in the window and unlocked the door and taken the kids” [Lenore Skenazy/Free Range Kids; related stories here and here; similar, Illinois Policy]
  • Police warn that plan in Scotland to provide state guardian for every child could backfire in abuse investigations [Telegraph, more on “named person” scheme]
  • Also from Scotland: Law Society says proposed ban on liquor promotion is so broad it might snag parent wearing rugby-sponsor jacket at school pickup [Express]
  • Judge rejects Mississippi school finance suit [Andrew Ujifusa, State Education Watch, background]
  • Widespread criticism of Michigan judge for sending kids to juvenile detention for not wanting to have lunch with their father [Radley Balko]
  • “Two Parents Weren’t Sure How Their Little Girl Fractured Her Leg, So CPS Took the Kids” [Lenore Skenazy, more, yet more on “medical kidnapping”]
  • Caleb Brown and Andrew Grossman discuss educator-dues case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association [Cato Daily Podcast, earlier on case, its SCOTUSBlog page]