0 – 19 Book Review: Schooling as violence

Schooling as Violence: how schools harm pupils and

Clive Harber

Routledge Falmer 2004

ISBN: 0-415-34434-4


Star Rating: 4/5

For anyone interested in the wider issues underlying the
problems of the school system, this book is essential reading,
writes Terri Dowty.  Clive Harber offers examples of the physical
abuse of children in schools around the world, but he makes it
clear that we cannot afford to ignore our own subtler coercion.

He ends up arguing that if we want a democratic society into
which our children can grow as reasonable, open-minded and
co-operative citizens, then education “…should reflect democracy
in its daily practices”.  Amen to that.

My only anxiety is that, in providing an overview of education
systems world-wide, Harber may inadvertently offer false
reassurance to UK readers.

Overall, Harber’s book is stirring stuff for those who believe
that the current mass-schooling system is fundamentally damaging to
children’s human rights.

Terri Dowty is Policy Director of Action on Rights for

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