School campaigners slam film 'hypocrisy'

 

CHARGES of hypocrisy have been levelled at Swansea Council after members were not allowed to see a film about the fight to save Daniel James School.

A former pupil of the school — which is to close for good in 2012 after being branded as "failing" — was hoping to show councillors a DVD about the campaign to save it.

But the chairwoman of the council, Audrey Clement, refused to allow the video to be shown, saying she had watched it and that it was not a fair portrayal of what happened at the school.

The refusal caused uproar in the council chamber — and an attempt to overturn the usual rules that govern meetings.

Andrew Temple, who along with friend Rhys Arnold made the DVD, said he was disappointed councillors did not get the chance to see it.

The 21-year-old, who has just graduated from Swansea Met University, said: "It is hypocritical — they talk about wanting to listen to youngsters but they wouldn't allow councillors to watch our film.

"The DVD has interviews with pupils about the school, what they thought about what was happening to it, and about how their experiences had changed their views of politics."

Co-creator Mr Arnold said: "It should have been seen — the children are entitled to have their views heard."

The chairwoman's refusal to allow the DVD to be shown during the public presentations section at the start of the meeting sparked criticism from Labour and Conservative members.

Tory group leader Rene Kinzett questioned why Councillor Clement — a member for the Mynyddbach ward which contains the school — had made the decision to keep the screens blank.

He said: "If you are acting in your political interest that is not the same thing as in the interests of the council.

"What measures are there when you make such off-hand decisions?"

But the chairwoman defended her actions. She said: "I watched the video on my own and made my own decision."