Exam penalty for unruly kids?

UNRULY teenagers could be penalised in their exams in a bid to cut antisocial behaviour. From now on the police

UNRULY teenagers could be penalised in their exams in a bid to cut antisocial behaviour.From now on the police will send a letter to headteachers and parents telling them about 'nuisance youths' caught intimidating people or being 'rowdy' and the school will then be able to slash the offenders' exam results.Included in the letter to parents will be an invitation to visit the police station to sit down with a community beat sergeant to discuss how to tackle the child's problems.The police started sending letters home to parents last year on an experimental basis. But the idea for a second letter to be sent to mums and dads and schools was introduced last month after the police were contacted by the local authority's education welfare department.Only last weekend about 80 first or second letters were given to young people causing trouble, mainly in the Worle area.Antisocial behaviour co-ordinator for Avon and Somerset police's North Somerset district, Terry Crees, said: "The majority of young people are well behaved and we have to deal with a minority which unfortunately seems to be on the increase."It seems they can get alcohol by either purchasing it or bringing it from home."In an attempt to remove this problem we came up with the original system of letters last year and now we are going to follow on from that."The idea is to intervene with nuisance youths who are brought to our attention by their behaviour.""The first letter, which has been used over the past year, asks parents to control their child's behaviour but by the second letter the parents are being asked to come along to the police station with the young person involved. "Once there they are given formal advice on how to deal with the situation by a community beat sergeant or their nominated representative. "The fact that a letter goes to the school may help highlight that there is an underlying problem - perhaps the young person is being bullied. It is good that the teachers will be aware of the child's problems outside school."A lot of children take citizenship exams at school and if they come to the notice of the police and behave badly they could be marked down in these exams. It is up to the school to choose what it does. But we want to let them know what is happening. "We want them to be aware of youngsters' conduct outside school and perhaps they can take this into account when assessing citizenship abilities."We are going to work with partners like North Somerset Council and enforce where necessary but we want parents and education agencies on board."If the letter stage of the process does not work the police can then ask youngsters to sign an acceptable behaviour contract outlining what they are going to do improve matters. If this still does not work the police can apply for an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO), which have been in place since 1999.

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