Lyn McCredden


A recent memorandum received in my workplace, an Australian academic department, was headed 'Presence of Young Children in University Buildings during Working Hours'. Its content and tone were disturbing to a number of staff members (though certainly not to all). In its 'Health and Safety' bureaucratese, it expressed concern for the welfare of young children, some of whom had been 'come across ... riding alone in the lifts, playing on the stairwells or running in and out of the buildings'. Concern over the disruption to staff members and to the University legally, was expressed in a deeply condescending and repressive note of instruction. It was addressed to parents (via their heads of department), on the conduct of their parenting: 'school holidays, public holidays and curriculum days are all known well in advance and appropriate arrangements for the care of children can be made for such periods... Unsupervised activities . .leave children exposed to accident, injury and even assault ... '



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