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It's time we made vandals pay the price.

ELL done to the directors of the Welsh Highland railway for taking a bold and innovative stance against the worst excesses of yob culture. Vandalism has plagued this country for years. Mindless destruction of,or damage to,property has become so frequent that it is now viewed with disappointment rather than surprise.

The hard- pressed police force wins battles on many fronts but catching vandals is difficult and time-consuming. And magistrates have limited powers to effectively punish youngsters through the juvenile court system.

Now perhaps we witness the beginning of a fight back from a general public that has had a bellyfull.

Youngsters are alleged to have caused damage to the railway's workshops on the outskirts of Porthmadog and four juveniles have been questioned in relation to vandalism incidents.

The Welsh Highland Railyway's bosses say that they are ready to sue the parents of anyone convicted if they are unhappy at compensation allocated by the criminal courts.

This recourse to civil court action may have enormous significance way beyond this one incident near Porthmadog.

We live in a society which has seen increasing numbers of parents abdicate responsibility for the way their children are brought up.

The pressures and time demands on working parents are partly responsible, but so is a tendency to believe that schools should shoulder the burden of turning out well-mannered, well-behaved,and well balanced youngsters.

The facts are that school teachers are no longer in a position to guarantee,or even attempt to achieve,anything of the sort.

Each day we read of parents taking action against teachers who dare to provide any type of censure to their offspring. Woe betide any teacher who lays a hand on a child,even in restraint.

There are of course a vast majority of parents who have excellent parenting skills and an attitude to match. It is in the minority where the problem lies.

This statement by the Welsh Highland Railway speaks up for the majority. A majority that believes parents should bear responsibility for the actions of their young. It is good news and common sense.
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Title Annotation:Comment
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 25, 2004
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