Gazette comment: Students or not, fighting teens must show each other – and themselves – more respect

Two 'students' fight in Upper Street. Picture: Submitted to Islington Gazette

Two 'students' fight in Upper Street. Picture: Submitted to Islington Gazette - Credit: Archant

We have received a number of letters this week about our coverage of the violence that broke out across Islington last week.

The Gazette is proud to champion our local schools and colleges. We publish a page of education stories every week in which we do exactly that. Only last week we ran a history feature on the life of one of Islington’s two universities. And I recently had a productive meeting at the other about the succession of excellent work experience students we take from its journalism courses.

And for the avoidance of doubt, I don’t believe the people seen fighting in our videos (of which only one was published) represent City and Islington as any sort of whole, if they indeed have any connection to that establishment. We were happy to include City and Islington in our celebration of the borough’s exam success last year, and I very much hope to do so again in August. I’m grateful to Ellie and Abdurahman for sharing their own experiences of learning there.

But if any of the people in that group fight were college students, then their teachers, friends and family must shoulder some responsibility for ensuring the violence does not continue. It isn’t just the traders and shoppers in Chapel Market who are at risk if it does (see p14): the biggest risk is to these young people themselves, who all have futures to focus on. A police caution, or worse, is the last thing any of them need – or perhaps the second-to-last thing, because they certainly don’t need any injuries.

I don’t pretend to understand what it’s like for these kids but their behaviour on those films really was dreadful. They must treat their peers, and themselves, with more respect. I hope our coverage last week brought that home to some of them.

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