Stabbed former teacher calls for calm over killing in class

County councillor John Howson, above, with a copy of the Daily Mirror reporting on how he was stabbed in a London classroom in 1977

County councillor John Howson, above, with a copy of the Daily Mirror reporting on how he was stabbed in a London classroom in 1977

First published in News Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

A COUNTY councillor stabbed by a pupil when he was a teacher last night appealed for no “knee-jerk” reactions to the death of Ann Maguire in Leeds.

The mother-of-two, 61, lost her life after she was stabbed in her classroom at Corpus Christi Catholic College on Monday.

John Howson, the Liberal Democrat education spokes-man on Oxfordshire County Council, said her death had echoes of the time when he was stabbed by a 15-year-old in 1977 when he was a 29-year-old teacher at Tottenham School.

But he did not favour calls to introduce American-style metal detectors to schools on the back of this tragedy.

The former magistrate, county councillor for St Margaret’s division in North Oxford, added: “Schools should not over-react to the stabbing of Mrs Maguire.

“Fatalities of this kind are rare in UK schools.

“As a former victim of a classroom stabbing I can empathise with the feelings of those affected.

“But metal detectors should not be necessary in all schools, and we need to know more about the circumstances of this attack on a long-serving teacher before deciding how to respond.

“What has happened is tragic but we need to know what motivated that particular boy in that particular way on that particular day.”

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Recalling his own attack, Mr Howson, 66, said: “I can still visualise what happened to me so clearly, and the incident made the front page of the Daily Mirror the following day. It was relatively early on in my teaching career at Tottenham School in London, which no longer exists. and I was teaching a GCE geography class at about 3pm when a pupil who had a grudge against the school came in on the first day of term.

“It just happened that I was the first teacher he saw and he came into my classroom after he had been to the pub for some Dutch courage.

“He came straight across the classroom, hit me first and broke my nose then started stabbing me with a knife.

“He was holding a knife with a 3-4 inch flat blade with a triangular tip and I still remember thinking ‘he is going to stab me’.

“Then the cleaner came in with her broom and a couple of his mates pulled him away and they left the classroom.

“I was stabbed three times – two were only puncture wounds but I was also stabbed in the back and the blade missed my spine by millimetres.It could have crippled me or killed me so I was extremely lucky.

“I needed hospital treatment and had to take about six weeks off.”

Mr Howson said the schoolboy appeared at the Old Bailey and was given six months’ custody.

Mr Howson left the school in 1979 and moved into school management before relocating to Oxford shortly afterwards.

Melinda Tilley, county council cabinet member for children, education and families, said: “I agree with John on this.

“It’s not the right time to rush into making decisions.”

Comments (1)

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8:32pm Wed 30 Apr 14

profgeof2000 says...

I go to a lot of schools here in Florida - don;t see any metal detectors! There are posters telling students that if they have knife, gun etc they are 'dont' expelled. Metal detectors - never seen one - even in the 'tough" schools. But - our sentences on killers are way less lenient than the UK!!!! 15 year old killer - life - no parole! Period!
I go to a lot of schools here in Florida - don;t see any metal detectors! There are posters telling students that if they have knife, gun etc they are 'dont' expelled. Metal detectors - never seen one - even in the 'tough" schools. But - our sentences on killers are way less lenient than the UK!!!! 15 year old killer - life - no parole! Period! profgeof2000
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