A Curious Girl

The musings of a girl who is curious in both senses of the word. Life, God, and York. Oh, did I say York? I meant Bradford!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hooded teacher deemed security risk

Just read an interesting story on BBC news:

A supermarket has apologised to a 58-year-old school teacher who was asked by an over-zealous security guard to remove her hooded top.

...Mrs Parncutt, a teaching assistant at Longleaze School in Wooton Bassett said: "I couldn't believe he was talking to me. I'm supposed to look like a nasty thug?"
Hooded tops have been banned from some shopping centres and schools because they conceal the face and have been associated with crime and anti-social behaviour.
The company said it did not have a hoodie ban in its stores, and added: "We are sorry if this made Mrs Parncutt feel uncomfortable in any way.
"We will be speaking to our security staff to make sure this doesn't happen again."

I thought this was interesting.

Granted, 58 year olds generally aren't the typical recipients of Anti-Social Behavioural Orders, and in this case, since no hoodie ban was in place, it seems rather rude of the security guard to hassle the woman... but there seems to be an implicit assumption in this story that I'm not sure I agree with.

I assume that people are wary about hoodies because they conceal the face from CCTV cameras - at least that's the reason Bluewater gave for their hoodie ban last year. It is very likely that Mrs Parncutt is no thug, but isn't it at least possible she might be a shoplifter?

What would have happened if a teenage boy had been hassled to put his hood down, I wonder? Since there was no specific ban he could have complained at unfair treatment. Would the story have made the BBC news? (This story's linked on the front page at the moment)

Would he even have received an apology from the store?

Is it advisable for a security guard to consider someone a potential trouble-maker based solely on their age and gender?



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