Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Monday 8 August 2011

A storm in a pot of ointment

The comments gremlins have struck again, this time at a post by The Moose on Ellie-Maye Wilkins, whose Vaseline was confiscated by her primary school teacher (Bucko, I don't know if it's you or me, but the comments suddenly vanish without trace at the point of posting).

Once one has the commenting bit between one's teeth, so to speak, there's no cure but to let it all out, hence this cathartic post before I return to other topics.

The child in question was sent to school with a small tin of Vaseline to treat her dry lips, as recommended by the pharmacist. A teacher confiscated the tin and, when the mother went to see the Head about it, she was told that the child should have a doctor's note and prescription to apply it.

According to the Daily Mail, 'a spokesman from Cheshire East Council said on behalf of the school: ‘The school has to be one hundred per cent certain that any ointment or medication that a child brings into school is safe to use.

‘Our school policy sets out that any type of oral ointment or medicine to be self-administered in school should be prescribed by a physician.'

Frankly, no-one comes out of this one well. The policy make plenty of sense if applied to inhalers or medicines, but to use it as justification for confiscating a substance more chemically inert than salt-and-vinegar crisps seems something of a over-reaction, to say the least, particularly as a more open-minded teacher apparently allowed the child to use it that morning.

However, what of the mother who, faced with a little local difficulty at her child's school, rushes off to tell the Daily Mail? And then allows her 7-year-old daughter to be pictured in the national press and online? Many parents would go to some lengths to avoid such attention and preserve their child's privacy.

Without wishing to malign the child, there is, perhaps, a suggestion of an untold story; this little girl, with pierced ears and a name redolent of Southern US beauty pageants, is sent in to school with a tin of Vaseline, well-known among schoolgirls as a cheap form of lip-gloss.

Could a hard-pressed teacher, seeing the girl brandishing the tin in front of her classmates, have confiscated it as a potential attention-seeking distraction, later justifying the action with the conveniently apt school policy statement?

After all, would you like to suggest to the evidently redoubtable Mrs Wilkins that it was her child's demeanour rather than school policy that caused the incident?


  1. I don't know whats going on with the comments?? There's nothing in spam either. Baffled.

  2. If no one else has a problem - and I've been able to comment on most other blogs - then it's probably my security software getting all excited about the prospect of a pot of vaseline.

    I preferred the old one, which blocked things and then told you exactly which words had triggered the system as being too gross for decent consumption - what I liked best was the way it put them in alphabetical order.


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