At the time of the foot and mouth epidemic in the UK,
there were also fears of an outbreak of
tuberculosis at a Leicester school
Area Health Authority denies TB rumours
An unnamed source from the Leicestershire Area Health Authority last night described as "premature" plans for mass culling of schoolchildren as a measure to combat the outbreak of tuberculosis in Leicester.
"Although there is no shortage of volunteers to undertake the operation, logistical problems are the real hurdle to overcome," he said. "It would be marginally cheaper to inoculate them against the disease than give them a lethal injection of drugs, so that is out, and noise prevention bye-laws prevent the use of heavy artillery in the playground."
The Local Education Authority was more upbeat. Refusing, at this stage, to be identified, a spokesman admitted that there was "more than a little" support for the ultimate prevention scenario. "We have had problems with classroom overcrowding for some time, the little buggers refuse to be properly brainwashed, and, quite frankly, they are a huge drain on resources, while giving next to nothing back to the community. Also, over the past few years, we have been obliged to sell off most of our playing fields, and so disposal of corpses is not so simple either. From an educational point of view, children are nothing less than an impediment to the career path of the teaching staff. Far too much of a typical teacher's day is spent giving attention to children rather than making the educational system more efficient, and now they have the temerity to come round here and infect us with their nasty viruses. Where's my bloody magnum?"
Compensation is also an issue. In the case of Foot and Mouth, a formula can be arrived at for determining the value of an Aberdeen Angus. Persuading less well-off parents to finance the despatching of a spotty, argumentative, pubescent brat is not as simple as it may at first appear. Some parents becoming morbidly attached to their offspring, and lack the perspicacity to appreciate what is best for society. It therefore appears that we will be faced with a protracted campaign to treat, and in some cases hospitalise, those carrying the disease. In the end, it is us, the ratepayers, who will have to meet the cost of the double expense of educating and then treating the same children.