“Corrosive and poisonous to every kind of healthy social interaction”

Prominent British kidlit authors refuse to go along with new security scheme

Britain’s Vetting and Barring scheme, set up to protect schoolchildren after two girls were murdered by a janitor at their school, will cast its net wide when it comes into effect Oct. 12. All individuals working with children in schools will need to sign on to a new database, at their own cost of $130 per person. A prominent group of children’s authors and illustrators, including some of the top names in publishing—Philip Pullman, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake—have refused to register their names. Pullman, the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy—which includes the enormously popular The Golden Compass—described the Home Office policy as “corrosive and poisonous to every kind of healthy social interaction.” He said: “I’ve been going into schools as an author for 20 years, and on no occasion have I ever been alone with a child. The idea that I have become more of a threat and I need to be vetted is both ludicrous and insulting. Children have never been in any danger from visiting authors or illustrators, and the idea that they should be is preposterous.” Despite he fact no school official contacted by the media could recall an author ever being left alone with a single child, the government is so far refusing to budge.

The Times of London

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