The high-profile founder of a Croydon youth anti-knife crime group has reacted with horror to the violent death of Leeds teacher Anne Maguire this week, but also with grave disappointment at the manner that the media handled the shocking news of the classroom stabbing.
Maguire was stabbed while at work in a classroom on Monday. A 15-year-old pupil from the school has been charged with murder and appeared in a youth court in Yorkshire yesterday.
Eliza Ribeiro set up Lives Not Knives six years ago in response to the youth crime she was encountering on the streets of Croydon. Now 20, Ribeiro has developed a national reputation for the pioneering work of LNK, and for her eloquent advocacy.
And when the first news reports of the tragic scenes at Corpus Christi Catholic College began to emerge on Monday, it was not long before Ribeiro began to be contacted by television stations, ostensibly seeking her “reaction”. In reality, what the broadcasters were fishing for was another “angle”, another talking head, someone to help them “move the story on” when the details and images from Leeds were being carefully controlled by the local police. Such are the perceived demands of 24/7 “rolling news”.
Ribeiro has written of how she received “three emails from three different television stations,” adding detail from the email: “‘Following the stabbing of the teacher in Leeds by one of her pupils, we are looking at what more could be done to prevent knives being taken into schools, and we would be very keen to talk to one of your ambassadors about their thoughts on that.’
“I cried,” Ribeiro wrote.
“Since 14 I’ve given advice, support and love to my community and from some friends but most importantly my mother and grandma I’ve received the same love back. Trying to make a change that helps benefit the world we live in and hearing real-life stories every day of how affected people are by knife crime does have an effect on me.
“How does a 15-year-old boy stab his teacher in front of his class? How does a journalist not use the name Anne Maguire when speaking on her tragic death?
“How does an organisation comment on what they can do to help in such a circumstance?”
Ribeiro says that she has been left speechless at the insensitive manner in which the media was seeking immediate answers to questions about the prevention of knife crime within hours of Maguire’s death. Is this, she asked, “what her family friends and pupils want to hear?”
“Let people cry, let people mourn and let people have feelings.
“I personally have no comment to make except that every piece of my heart is with her family right now.”
- From our archive: Youth knife crime: the most vicious of vicious circles
Coming to Croydon
- Warlingham Sevens Heaven tournament, May 3
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, May 4
- Crystal Palace Chamber of Commerce Question Time, May 7
- David Lean Cinema: Wadjda, May 8
- Coulsdon Euro election hustings, May 8
- David Lean Cinema: Blue Velvet, May 10
- Norwood Society Talk: West Norwood – a place of change, May 15
- David Lean Cinema: The Invisible Woman, May 15
- Coulsdon West local election hustings, May 16
- Croydon RFC charity memorial day, May 17
- Coulsdon East local election hustings, May 19 (confirmed)
- St Giles’ primary school open morning, May 21
- David Lean Cinema: The Rocket, May 22
- David Lean Cinema: Dallas Buyers Club, May 29
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, June 15
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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