- He may have single-handedly fought the forces of evil,
but now Harry Potter faces a real-life adversary - the schoolboy wizard
is in trouble with teacher.
- One of Britain's biggest teaching unions has issued a
stern warning to parents and teachers that J.K. Rowling's phenomenally
successful creation could lead schoolchildren into the sinister world of
- With the premiere of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's
Stone due this month, Peter Smith, general secretary of the Association
of Teachers and Lecturers, has echoed concerns in America and called on
parents and teachers to be wary.
- 'Children must be protected from the more extreme
of the occult and be taught in a responsible and positive way the risks
of journeying into the unknown,' he said.
- 'The premiere of Harry Potter the movie will lead to
a whole new generation of youngsters discovering witchcraft and wizardry.
We welcome the values this will ingrain, focusing on good triumphing over
evil. Though it is important not to over-react to this entertaining
the risks are clear.'
- At least one school, St Mary's in Chatham, a Church of
England primary, has banned the Potter books from its library, and last
week the UK's largest privately owned toy chain, the Entertainer, banned
Potter merchandise from its shelves.
- Acknowledging he stood to lose around £500,000
in lost sales, co-owner Gary Grant said he was concerned children could
be led into something 'out of hand'.
- Smith said the ATL had a long-standing concern over
'meddling in the occult'.
- 'Increasing numbers of children are spending hours alone
browsing the internet in search of Satanic websites and we are concerned
that nobody is monitoring this growing fascination,' he added.
- However, the Department for Education said that they
were not troubled by Pottermania. A spokeswoman said teachers could be
relied upon to use their common sense if the subject was raised.
- 'Discussions may indeed arise and we would rely on the
professionalism of teachers to acknowledge any issues raised by children
and deal with them in a way that is appropriate,' she said.
- Despite the opposition, the film - which opens in the
UK on 16 November - is expected to take cinemas by storm.
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