How do the moral panics that have plagued school education since it’s nineteenth-century beginnings impact current school education policy? Research has shown young people to be particularly vulnerable to moral panics and, with the rise of social media, the impact of moral panics on school education is growing exponentially. Increasingly, they are reaching into the highest levels of national governments and, so powerful are their effects, some politicians choose to orchestrate them for their own political ends. For many educational administrators, the management of the ‘fallout’ of moral panics has become a time-consuming part of their day, as well as being a problematic time for parents, teachers and students.

First developed by British and Canadian sociologists such as Stanley Cohen (1972), moral panic theory has evolved substantially since its early focus on adolescent deviant behaviour, and is now a part of common media talk. This book addresses the need for a single monograph on the topic, with reference to historical moral panics such as those associated with sexuality education, but also wider societal moral panics such as those associated with obesity. Teachers, students, indeed all members of school communities, along with educational administrators and politicians can learn from this study of the impact of moral panics on school educational policy.

chapter |6 pages


chapter 1|31 pages

Moral panic theory and school education

chapter 2|15 pages

Alcohol and drug education

chapter 3|15 pages

Physical fitness and obesity

chapter 4|22 pages

Sexuality education

chapter 5|21 pages

Racism and Islamophobia

chapter 6|14 pages

Pedagogy and curriculum

chapter 7|21 pages

Media and youth

chapter 9|13 pages

Buildings and school facilities

chapter 10|15 pages

Bringing it all together