It is a fact of life that a number of children see nothing wrong with taking a knife or other weapon with them to school.

It is equally sad that the culture has reinforced the belief that it is wrong to "grass" on your mates. But for the protection of the majority a way has to be found for those youngsters with a social conscience - and there are many - to be able to report information without fear of reprisals.

One option is to provide the young people with a route for reporting information without ringing the police. That is where Crimestoppers has stepped in with its latest worthwhile venture. Special business-type cards appealing for information are being distributed to secondary schools. The idea is that youngsters can phone the number and leave information. The message is clear that their call may prevent serious injury or death.

A secondary, but equally important, action must be to discover what it is that compels a child to take a deadly weapon to school.

Not that long ago the consequences of being discovered with something like a knife at school were enough to keep the balance in favour of law and good order. At the moment there is little evidence of the existence of any "fear factor" at school.

Part of the action must be to bring back that which kept previous generations more disciplined and in line. Parental responsibility, or the lack of it, is the key - yet again.