One of the most disturbing factors of the continuing violence in Northern Ireland is the effect it has on school children.
One of the most disturbing factors of the continuing violence in Northern Ireland is the effect it has on school children. How will the present generation, subject to nightly bombings and shooting incidents, grow up ?
A B.B.C. team has been touring Belfast school's in an effort to assess the reaction of children to their violent playground -- both from experts and from the children themselves.
One of the people they interviewed was child psychiatrist Dr. Maurice Frazer. He was asked what effect he thought the violence would have on children:
SYNOPSIS: What will be the long-term effect of daily bombings and killings on the children now growing up in Northern Ireland? A report from Belfast:
Some children now facing the first crucial hurdle in their school career may fail to overcome it as a direct result of nightly explosions, shootings and other street violence. Some people would like to see the postponement of Eleven-Plus tests until the new year, because the effects on children are pretty much the same -- whether Catholic or Protestant -- restlessness, sleepiness after nights disturbed by gunfire and rioting, nervous tension and generally a greater concentration of tension than normal. Teachers are having to use extra special care to coax children along. A fe children in areas where even the schools have been damaged by bomb blasts may never forget their experiences. Results of much research on victims are explained by child psychiatrist Dr. Maurice Frazer:
One little boy trying to prepare for his Eleven-Plus tells of some of his worries:
These children, writing essays about being afraid, punctuated their writing with spine-chilling eye-witness account of trouble. They'd either heard explosions or seen the result. One girl's visit to the butcher's shop ended with her seeing a soldier fall bleeding to the ground during a street battle. Others see people fighting, others running, many scared. Their essays are vivid with the sounds of ambulances, blue flashing light, the resounding tinkle of breaking glass. In disturbed areas the effect of street trouble is not a sectarian problem in that very young Protestants and Catholics react in much the same way -- a view shared by the senior chief inspector of Northern Ireland schools. He also says there are no signs yet that the effects on exam results may be disastrous. But according to some educationalist there is a very real danger.