Sunday, September 19, 2021

UK: SAS needs more privately educated officers amid influx of working-class recruits because public schools instil the leadership skills required, soldiers say

When your job involves abseiling out of helicopters, kicking down doors and taking out the bad guys, you might be forgiven for thinking that it doesn't really matter what school you went to.

But the SAS is getting worried that not enough posh officers are applying to command its high-stakes operations.

The elite regiment has typically been led by former public schoolboys whose privileged education is said to instil the leadership skills and poise required.

But increasingly working-class officers are applying to command the crack troops, to the chagrin of some soldiers.

'The typical SAS officer is confident, relaxed, bright and unflappable,' said one of the regiment's warrant officers.

'Many of the most successful officers have been to the top public schools, but recently we have seen a number of guys coming forward who just don't cut it. It's a shame, but they are just not posh enough.

'The bottom line is that the officers shouldn't be speaking like soldiers. We don't want officers who are shouters or know-it-alls.'

His comments might invite accusations of snobbery, but The Mail on Sunday understands that one officer recently failed the SAS selection process because it was felt he 'lacked the sophistication' to be able to brief Cabinet Ministers on operations.

Those applying to be SAS officers must brief a room of special forces soldiers on a potential mission and are challenged about their planning and leadership skills by invigilators.

Former officers of the SAS include General Mark Carleton-Smith, the head of the Army, and Major Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a former Private Secretary to Princes William and Harry, who one source described as 'the archetypal SAS officer'.

Both were educated at Eton, while other recent commanding officers attended Winchester and Harrow.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment on special forces recruitment, but said they sought the 'best talent from the broadest diversity of thought, skills and background'.


'Inclusion': History Teacher Hangs 'F*** the Police' Poster, Palestinian Flag in Classroom

When students at Alexander Hamilton High School in Los Angeles, California, returned to class this fall, one teacher's woke decor went beyond the typical liberal bias that's become commonplace in public schools.

Photos sent by a concerned parent to national grassroots group Parents Defending Education show one wall covered with hanging LGBTQIA+, Palestine, Transgender, and Black Lives Matter flags while an American flag can be seen tossed over a piece of furniture in the corner.

Another photo shows anti-police and anti-American posters on the wall reading "F*** THE POLICE" and "F*** AMERIKKKA. THIS IS NATIVE LAND."

The anti-police poster claims that "Policing is a violent, anti-black, settler institution that originated as slave patrols. Their primary mandate is to protect property and to militarily enforce white supremacist capitalism. They are doing their jobs as they are trained and paid to do. You can't fix what isn't broken — that's why we fight for police and prison abolition."

The other "F*** AMERIKKKA" poster is emblazoned with the terms "settler colonialism," "genocide," "slavery," "imperialism," "war on drugs," "Jim Crow," and "prison labor" surrounded by photos of Christopher Columbus.

When Parents Defending Education reached out to the Los Angeles Unified School District to seek an explanation, officials responded with a statement that is full of the usual politically-correct blather education administrators are known for:

L.A. Unified holds firm in its policy that students and adults in both schools and offices should treat all persons equally and respectfully and refrain from the willful or negligent use of slurs against any person on the basis of race, language spoken, color, sex, religion, handicap, national origin, immigration status, age, sexual orientation, or political belief.

Apparently, equal treatment and respect don't apply to students whose parents are in law enforcement.

The LAUSD's statement continues:

Across the nearly 630,000 students and about 30,000 teachers district-wide, individual teachers decorate their rooms in a variety of ways, with some decorations being directly tied to or in support of our district curriculum, while others are inclined to adorn based on their freedom of expression and individuality.

When utilizing decorations in our learning environments, all L.A. Unified teachers are expected to adhere to district policies and to be mindful of our mission to educate children in a classroom that reflects all our policies of inclusion and respectful treatment of individual rights.

Again, how "included" are students whose parents protect and serve the community? What about Jewish students who go to class and are forced to sit under a Palestinian flag?

Despite LAUSD's claim that teachers are decorating with the protection of their freedom of expression and individuality, Parents Defending Education points to legal precedent that "public employees are not insulated from employer discipline under the First Amendment when they make statements pursuant to their official duties" because "teachers speak on behalf of the school district when performing their duties in the classroom."

"When teachers make statements, advocate for particular points of view, and/or post specific items on walls or bulletin boards, they are acting pursuant to their official duties," PDE continues. "They do not have unfettered First Amendment rights."


Brown University Will Test Students Twice a Week for COVID-19 Regardless of Vaccination Status

This week, Ivy League school Brown University implemented mandatory twice-weekly covid testing for all undergraduate students and closed a slew of indoor facilities, like the dining hall, due to a rise in positive cases on campus. This follows the trend of colleges and universities across the country requiring students, regardless of vaccination status, to get tested and abide by strict policies to combat the spread of the virus.

In a tweet shared by the student-run newspaper, Brown Daily Herald, it stated that over 80 positive coronavirus cases on campus had been reported in the past week. As a result, the university implemented a slew of temporary restrictions for students, effective Tuesday.

Some of the short-term policies outlined in a news release include the mandatory twice-weekly testing for all students regardless of vaccination status. Previously, only unvaccinated students with exemptions faced twice weekly status. Indoor masking in on and off campus housing unless in a private, non-shared space is a requirement students must also abide by. In-person dining is halted, and social gatherings, while wearing masks, are limited to five people.

On a more specific note, Brown advises students to refrain from small group “hopping.” “Students are expected to consistently engage with the same small social group, rather than attending or ‘hopping’ among multiple small-group gatherings over the course of a day or short period of time,” the website states. “They should not go to indoor bars or restaurants.”

Additionally, Brown requires that students at outdoor social gatherings with people outside the university community wear masks. This includes university athletic events and campus tours for prospective students.

According to Brown’s COVID-19 website, “Healthy Brown,” all students, faculty, and staff are required to be fully vaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus. The school does allow religious and medical exemptions. The Providence Journal reported that as of August, the university had a 97 percent vaccination rate among students.

“By now, we all understand that we will live with the uncertainty of the pandemic for some time to come, and we must be prepared to adjust our behaviors as public health conditions shift,” the news release reads. “The University will necessarily continue to increase and decrease Brown’s activity protocols to align our requirements for indoor and outdoor settings with expert public health and medical guidance.”


Australia: Religious schools in Victoria are banned from sacking or refusing to hire staff because they are LGBTQ

New rules will come into effect in Victoria which bans religious schools from discriminating against staff who identify as LGBTQIA+.

The schools will no longer be able to sack staff or refuse to hire someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Under current laws, 'faith-based' organisations are allowed to discriminate employees based on their sexuality, gender and marital status due to a gap in legislation.

Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes said the state government would now look to close the 'unfair, hurtful' loophole that allows schools to use religion as the basis for its decision. 'People shouldn't have to hide who they are to keep their job,' Ms Symes said in a statement.

'We're closing this unfair, hurtful gap in our laws so that Victoria's LGBTIQ+ community won't have to pretend to be someone they're not, just to do the job they love.

'These laws strike the right balance between protecting the LGBTIQ+ community from discrimination and supporting the fundamental rights of religious bodies and schools to practice their faith.'

The new legislation means teachers and staff will be protected from getting the sack from religious institutions when disclosing their sexual orientation.

Foreseeably the move has sparked heated debate amongst the religious community with Lobby group Christian Schools Australia describing the state's proposal as an 'attack on people of faith'.

The group's public policy director Mark Spencer said it would oppose the legislation that he believed could 'change the nature of Christian schools'. 'Why is the Government trying to dictate to a Christian school who it can employ or in what role?' Mr Spencer said.

'The Attorney-General can choose all her staff on the basis of their political beliefs – why can't Christian schools simply choose all their staff on their religious beliefs?'

Ms Symes told The Age under the new reforms any discrimination against potential employees would need to be 'reasonable' and an important part of the job.

'For example, a school couldn't refuse to hire a gay or transgender person because of their identity but might be able to prevent that person being a religious studies teacher because of their religious belief,' she said.




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