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  #1    
Old November 2nd, 2011 (03:04 AM).
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Oh damn, they did not just say that~
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Schoolchildren bullied over their sexuality are being advised by teachers to act "less gay," it emerged today.

The shocking claim has been made by pupils in a report on bullying in schools in Essex.

Teenagers who are picked on for their appearance told how they were advised to wear their hair differently if they wanted to avoid being teased.

The document also reveals teachers are insensitive to the needs of bullied youngsters and claims some educators had received "very little" training in dealing with the challenges they face.

The "Anti-Bullying Work" report, based on evidence gathered from more than 250 teachers and pupils, has been compiled by Essex County Council.

The author of the report, Julie Keating, stated there was "anecdotal evidence of students being told to act less gay or to wear their hair differently as teachers felt they were making themselves a target for bullies".

The report says: "Teachers received very little training at college around bullying and most would welcome additional support and guidance. The school where the "act less gay" comments were made is not named, but the council has called on teachers to think hard about their advice.

According to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, two thirds of lesbian, gay and transgender students had suffered bullying, and 17 per cent had received death threats.

The claims made in the report have angered anti-bullying and gay rights campaigners.

Jordan Newell, a gay rights campaigner, said: "I am incredibly shocked by this report. It is incredibly stark and paints a picture that teachers are holding up their hands and not trying to defend pupils who are expressing their differences."

The National Union of Teachers labeled the comments made to pupils as "inappropriate".

An Essex County Council spokeswoman said: "The council takes bullying very seriously and would hope all teachers are sensible in giving the right advice to pupils."

It said the report will go towards an anti-bullying information pack, which will be given to trainees.
  1. Do you think these teachers will be able to get away with this?
  2. Do you think these teachers have the right to say this to students that are gay?
  3. Do you think these teachers have the right to say this to students that aren't gay?
  4. Do you think that kids should dress more "normal"
  5. Do you think that kids should also have "normal" haircuts

I found out about this article while stalking imgur. At first I thought it had to be some kind of joke that was photoshopped but a quick Google search lead to a more shocking result than I wanted.

From the article I sense that the teachers have stopped trying to stop bullying and are trying to find a "simple" way to stop it by saying that kids shouldn't dress in a certain way or have a certain haircut that are deemed "gay". I'm against bullying in all forms since I was bullied for a while in high school. I don't know why I was bullied, I don't know if I was the only person that bully bullied around, but I didn't have any sort of haircut that would make me "gay" in anyway or even dressed since everyone had to wear school uniforms(except teachers and administration staff). Now I do know these teachers have a right to their own beliefs, but telling a kid to dress less gay is definitely not the way to stop bullying or even help a kid who is being bullied.

I personally think that these teachers shouldn't be given a slap on the wrist since who are we to judge the way someone dresses(and have a certain haircut), everyone is free to find the way that look good to themselves. And I don't see anyone telling them not to dress gay if something looks bad on them :/
I think that no one should tell a kid to not dress in a certain way(and have a certain hair style) just because it looks "gay", and regardless of gender as well since some straight men wear pink shirts. It doesn't even help in the first place, and I'm not sure if would only make things worse. And as for acting gay, how does one even act gay? sure you can tell if they say they're attracted to the same sex but why should that even matter?
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (04:13 AM).
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So, instead of students acting happy they want them to act depressed and/or angry? Something tells me that depression and anger will lead to more bullying.

*End sarcastic, yet technically true, statement*

Anyway,

Do you think these teachers will be able to get away with this?

Short term, yes. Once more people hear of this, or a celebrity takes offence at this, then these teachers will either change their tune or find themselves fired.

Do you think these teachers have the right to say this to students that are gay?

Do they have the right to call them ******s? In the context that these words will be used, they mean the same thing.

That said, they are paid to teach these students the skills needed for life. Not to label them. Am I the only one here who thinks that these people should do... you know, what they are paid to do?

Do you think these teachers have the right to say this to students that aren't gay?

Same as above.

Do you think that kids should dress more "normal"?

Should they get rid of their individuality? To me, the answer to these two questions are the same. No.

Do you think that kids should also have "normal" haircuts

Again, as above.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (06:52 AM).
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"Remember those shootings in the USA in school? How about Cleveland School massacre, that ring a bell? It was that sort of 'advice' those two boys received for being bullied and picked on.

Then as I recall...they walked in and shot up the school; honestly if you ask me that place had it coming since the best they could 'do' was tell them to act less gothic or emotional. Well if you do not read your history to well skip forward to the Columbine massacre; 16 dead/wounded from picking two guys calling them 'sissy' and 'hag'.

Oh need more reminders? Red Lake Senior High School, Virgina Tech, and École Polytechnique (in Canada). This all could have been avoided if the bullying had been stopped when it was reported...but nope the victims turned shooters were told the same thing 'ignore it, act less whatever' so I think the schools and the victims sort of deserved it if they didn't see and stop it."

That comment caught my eye.

I always though of Europe as being this place that's way more progressed on LGBT stuff. I guess it's not.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (07:41 AM).
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1. No
2. No
3. No
4. No
5. No

Honestly some people... >:(
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (09:11 AM).
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I think it's the job of both teachers and parents to instill respect into the children as they grow. Kids IMO are naturally going to lash out at something different, so if they learn the appropriate behaviour and respect for other kids that are unlike themselves, then this problem may start to find a solution. No one should have to conform.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (09:21 AM).
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  1. Do you think these teachers will be able to get away with this?
    Sadly yes if Cassie Anthony got away with murder, teachers can get away with this
  2. Do you think these teachers have the right to say this to students that are gay?
    No, no teacher has the right to say this to poor students, it's like saying to mental kids to not act mentaly retarded
  3. Do you think these teachers have the right to say this to students that aren't gay?
No, it's still pretty bad
4. Do you think that kids should dress more "normal"
Being normal is too over rated
5.Do you think that kids should also have "normal" haircuts
Same as the answer above.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (09:23 AM).
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Do you think these teachers will be able to get away with this?

...Insert snarky quip about the anti-bullying group agreeing with a group I know for reverse bullying here.

No. Nobody ever "gets away" with stuff like this anymore. They'll be lucky if they don't lose their jobs for the simple reason that they've got such an aggressive group on their case. Fortunately this is college, so they might have a chance. In Elementary / High School they could kiss their jobs goodbye, easily.

Do you think these teachers have the right to say this to students that are gay?

Of course they have the right! What a silly question! @_@ This is not as black and white as whether what they said was protected under the constitution. This looks like that reverse bullying I was mentioning earlier. Knowing how college teachers tend to be, chances were the teacher was trying to give a student, who /had/ made themselves a target for anti-gay hate, a reality check. What reality check is that? Allow me to explain.

Student upset about bullying wants help.
Teacher is given two apparent options.
A) Destroy bullying with fire!!!
B) Try to help kid deal with bullying like they do for any other kid suffering petty bullying: Teaching them how to avoid being targeted

I wouldn't have expected any less had I been in these young adult's shoes. =/

Do you think these teachers have the right to say this to students that aren't gay?

Er... This would actually look a lot like the teacher trolling IRL. I have no idea why they would ever say this to a heterosexual person for any reason.

Do you think that kids should dress more "normal"
Do you think that kids should also have "normal" haircuts

Students flaunt their sexuality at their own social risk. Only when consequences for their actions get more severe is there justification to intervene. I wouldn't even go around expressing to people I'm interested in /men/. Y'know why? It wouldn't be appropriate. Not at all.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (10:00 AM).
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I am reminded of the Toronto police officer from a while back who told women that they should dress less "****ty" if they didn't want to be attacked by deviants. It's like the same thing here, only with kids who may or may not be gay. Way to blame the victims, teachers!

But to be fair, the article says it's anecdotal evidence. In other words, some kids said that teachers told them to act less gay. Could have happened just like that, or there could be some slight warping of the words as it was relayed to the people making up this report. If it did happen just as it said then that's an awful thing to say to someone being bullied. I can understand the sentiments, though. Teachers don't want to see kids being bullied and they might honestly think they're giving good advice. I just hope they get things explained to them properly so they understand what they're inadvertently (at least I hope it's not on purpose) telling kids.

My question, for anyone who thinks the teachers were giving good advice, is: when and to whom is it okay to give this advice? To all kids regardless of how they look or act? To "flamboyant" ones? The ones "flaunting" their sexuality?
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (10:01 AM).
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Yup, sounds like a teacher alright.

When I was younger. A lot younger. Like in grade 1. Not entirely related to the topic as I'm not gay, but I was picked on and we approached the teacher and the school for some assistance and all we got was:

"Don't name names. We don't need to know who is doing what, we'll just look into it on our own". Which they never did.

And, the best one was "Well, what is he [being me] doing that's encouraging that behaviour?".

Teachers simply don't care and are kind of like bullies themselves for letting it happen and blaming the victims.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (12:49 PM).
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To give teachers some fair credit, they deal with schoolyard bullying all the time. Some just don't see when certain bullies become increasingly aggressive, and sometimes downright violent.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (12:54 PM).
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Quote originally posted by FreakyLocz14:
I always though of Europe as being this place that's way more progressed on LGBT stuff. I guess it's not.
A few teachers, in a single school, in Essex, England, do not speak for an entire continent. Come on.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (12:58 PM).
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I thought you knew that most people ignore the good points and only focus on the bad?

News is no different.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (01:13 PM).
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Quote originally posted by PkMnTrainer Yellow:
Of course they have the right! What a silly question! @_@ This is not as black and white as whether what they said was protected under the constitution. This looks like that reverse bullying I was mentioning earlier. Knowing how college teachers tend to be, chances were the teacher was trying to give a student, who /had/ made themselves a target for anti-gay hate, a reality check. What reality check is that? Allow me to explain.

Student upset about bullying wants help.
Teacher is given two apparent options.
A) Destroy bullying with fire!!!
B) Try to help kid deal with bullying like they do for any other kid suffering petty bullying: Teaching them how to avoid being targeted

I wouldn't have expected any less had I been in these young adult's shoes. =\
I have to actually agree with this, except I have no idea what you mean by reverse bullying but I agree with the idea of a reality check.

Last year, I was 18 and a freshman in college. I decided to dye my hair green. I got a lot of compliments, a lot of weird looks, and some people messing with me about it. But I knew what I was getting into when I dyed my hair, and I knew that it was only because of the hair. These people had never messed with me before and didn't talk to me ever again after I dyed my hair back to brown. So in some cases, the teachers in fact are right and I feel like there's a point in which there needs to be more honesty beyond the "be as in-your-face as you want about your sexuality, everyone will accept you and if they don't then we'll make them accept you! This is how reality works!" I think college is a good time in fact to start instilling into young adults the knowledge that not everywhere will they be accepted no matter what they do or how they dress or act or present themselves. In reality, you will be judged for an outrageous outfit and hairstyle, especially in a job. In my situation, people left me alone once the thing that made me stand out was gone. For small acts of bullying, this is a reasonable solution. Being bullied because you present yourself in a way that screams "LOOK I'M GAY"? Then presenting yourself in a way that doesn't scream that is reasonable advice for a young adult who has to prepare for the real world when there won't be teachers around to scold people that sling insults at them.

That being said, the news article didn't state at all how intense the bullying was. If it was like mine, just teasing around campus/a few snide remarks, then this is a reasonable solution. If it extended beyond that or was recurring with the same person targeting them over and over, that wouldn't solve the problem at all. But we can't say which one it was, so to immediately dismiss that solution to the issue would be wrong.

@Scarf: That relation to the Toronto officer is tenuous at best. The news report says that these people are being picked on specifically for their appearance. It's a well-known fact that sexual attacks aren't based on the level of attractiveness of the woman involved, so the way they dress wouldn't affect the deviants at all. However, if someone is being picked on exclusively for their appearance, and then changed their appearance, it's reasonable to guess that people picking on them for their appearance will...no longer pick on them.[/SIZE]
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (01:15 PM).
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Do you think these teachers will be able to get away with this?
--> Probably. Its not really their responsibility, so I suspect schools will look the other way unless something big happens because of it.

Do you think these teachers have the right to say this to students that are gay?
--> In all fairness, they have a point. Not acting like it as much will cause less bullying. The issues is that it doesn't deal with the real issues. They have the right to say what they wish, but should be held accountable for their actions.

Do you think these teachers have the right to say this to students that aren't gay?
--> Same. Assuming they are being bullied for the same reasons.

Do you think that kids should dress more "normal"
--> Odd dressings will bring more attention to people, and ultimately more bullying. I think kids should try to have some restraint so they don't go overboard. Besides that, its all their choice.

Do you think that kids should also have "normal" haircuts
--> Same
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (01:18 PM).
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Just saying, but schools have dress codes for a reason.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (01:27 PM).
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I wonder if they're telling metrosexuals the same thing.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (02:40 PM).
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I think it's part of the teacher's job to provide consolation and counsel for students who are being troubled, especially bullying. And the article said a few of them even received death threats. This is just growing all the more common now, sadly.

They shouldn't tell kids how to dress, unless the school has a uniform. But I don't think that's the case here. The teachers had a good thought, in a vague way, as they did try to offer advice. It just wasn't appropriate or adequate.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (02:45 PM).
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Quote originally posted by psyanic:
I think it's part of the teacher's job to provide consolation and counsel for students who are being troubled, especially bullying. And the article said a few of them even received death threats. This is just growing all the more common now, sadly.

They shouldn't tell kids how to dress, unless the school has a uniform. But I don't think that's the case here. The teachers had a good thought, in a vague way, as they did try to offer advice. It just wasn't appropriate or adequate.
You misread the article. That part said that 17 percent of all LGBT students everywhere received death threats, not 17% of the people who were involved in this situation.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (02:48 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Toujours:


You misread the article. That part said that 17 percent of all LGBT students everywhere received death threats, not 17% of the people who were involved in this situation.
Sorry, guess I didn't word my post correctly. I did mean a few of the students not the teachers, I guess I should have added that in before...
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (02:55 PM).
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No, you're still misreading. It's not 17% of the students in that school, or 17% of the students giving anecdotes. It's 17% of all LGBT students, everywhere. I checked multiple articles to confirm this because that part of the article isn't worded well and this is the only one that mentions death threats. If it was part of the actual story then it would be in at least one of the other 5 articles I read on the same story, lol.

I understand your confusion though - I think it's the way they wrote "had" instead of "have", as if it's all in the past and not still ongoing.

Edit: This article words it better and makes it easier to understand, as well as giving a lot more detail.
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Old November 2nd, 2011 (04:51 PM).
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What an appauling piece of advice.
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Old November 3rd, 2011 (09:17 AM).
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Quite simply this: saying someone should "act less gay" is like saying someone should "act less white."
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Old November 3rd, 2011 (09:28 AM).
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Nice work, education system. Great freaking job.

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Old November 3rd, 2011 (10:04 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Toujours:
@Scarf: That relation to the Toronto officer is tenuous at best. The news report says that these people are being picked on specifically for their appearance. It's a well-known fact that sexual attacks aren't based on the level of attractiveness of the woman involved, so the way they dress wouldn't affect the deviants at all. However, if someone is being picked on exclusively for their appearance, and then changed their appearance, it's reasonable to guess that people picking on them for their appearance will...no longer pick on them.
I hope you didn't think I agreed with what that Toronto cop said because I don't. I only brought it up because like this story it's a case of someone blaming victims for the faults of others (and because I was trying to add something else to the discussion so it might expand beyond just talking about schools).

I don't know about you, but when I read that kids were being told to change their hair I didn't immediately think they were dying it or doing other kinds of attention-grabbing things with their hair. I assumed that since this was in England that there was a good chance their school had a dress code or a uniform and that anything these kids who were bullied were doing with their appearance couldn't be very extreme in the first place. So I took away from the article the image of a kid with maybe only a Justin Bieber style haircut being harassed. I mean, the "advice" of the teachers may have been to change their hair, but who knows what the bullies were actually targeting. For all we know it was those teachers who had a problem with the kids' appearance and assumed that was the cause.

And from the article it also sounded like what the kids describe as "bullying" the teachers may have described as "teasing" so it's just all kinds of unclear all around.

I'll agree with you certainly that if you dye your hair and get some comments on it that's nothing but you and your choice, but if things slide from "teasing" into "bullying" then it's totally inappropriate to tell the victims they need to change. Adults are supposed to keep schools safe and they can stop bullies once they know about them so there's no call for them to shift that burden to kids.
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Old November 3rd, 2011 (10:43 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Scarf:
I hope you didn't think I agreed with what that Toronto cop said because I don't. I only brought it up because like this story it's a case of someone blaming victims for the faults of others (and because I was trying to add something else to the discussion so it might expand beyond just talking about schools).

I don't know about you, but when I read that kids were being told to change their hair I didn't immediately think they were dying it or doing other kinds of attention-grabbing things with their hair. I assumed that since this was in England that there was a good chance their school had a dress code or a uniform and that anything these kids who were bullied were doing with their appearance couldn't be very extreme in the first place. So I took away from the article the image of a kid with maybe only a Justin Bieber style haircut being harassed. I mean, the "advice" of the teachers may have been to change their hair, but who knows what the bullies were actually targeting. For all we know it was those teachers who had a problem with the kids' appearance and assumed that was the cause.

And from the article it also sounded like what the kids describe as "bullying" the teachers may have described as "teasing" so it's just all kinds of unclear all around.

I'll agree with you certainly that if you dye your hair and get some comments on it that's nothing but you and your choice, but if things slide from "teasing" into "bullying" then it's totally inappropriate to tell the victims they need to change. Adults are supposed to keep schools safe and they can stop bullies once they know about them so there's no call for them to shift that burden to kids.
Oh no lol, I know that you would never agree with what he said. I was just pointing out the differences between the idea of being picked on for appearance and attacked for what you're wearing are two entirely different things and can't really be compared, because it's rather common knowledge that what you're wearing has no bearing on whether or not you will be attacked like that but it seems reasonable to assume that if you're being picked on due to a part of your appearance that you can change, changing that part will stop the picking.

I'm a little confused personally on the level of schooling it is. Someone here referred to it as a college but a lot of the news articles don't reference it at all, which greatly changes my opinion. In high school and middle school, there's a level of punishment available to teachers for students outside of class that's just not available in college. Teachers can't control everything at that level, and students will have even less of an ability to punish people that bully them once they get out of school entirely. That's why I feel that in college it's reasonable to give a student actual tips that they can take out into the real world to reduce the problem. Yeah, in an ideal society no one would ever pick on anyone else because of their appearance so no one would have to think about that when choosing how to style their hair or dress, but we don't live in an ideal society. It's a compromise that sometimes has to be made by people in the real world where there aren't teachers.

If it's in college, are there uniforms and strict dress code requirements in English colleges? I was under the impression that it was just lower education, not into college.

I think this article is still very badly worded because the first line says "bullied about their sexuality", but the actual article says "picked on for their appearance". There's a very large difference between the two which makes it rather confusing. I read the second one and assumed that meant that the teasing is because of their appearance. I can see how it might be how you see it though, which would change things.

I don't think that the solution of the teachers is right in all situations, obviously. Each different situation has its own different optimal solution, but the point I'm trying to make is that it isn't necessarily wrong flat-out without all the facts like some people have been posting. Without knowledge of the intent of the teachers, the attitude towards the students, the ability to punish the offenders, how the students were actually dressing, and the extent of the bullying/teasing, we can't rule out their actions as wrong in every scenario.
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