Suggestion for a talk to secondary school pupils

Invite pupils to think about the purpose of a petition and about the need to obtain a great many signatures to show that people agree with the petition in the hope that you can use it to change minds and, often, to change rules or change the law. Supposing, for example, they became a vet and they were very worried about the possibility that badgers were passing tuberculosis onto cattle. Perhaps they would get up a petition to Parliament to insist that badgers were killed to stop the spread of the disease. What would they do if the petition failed? Would they give up their work as a vet because they were unhappy about still being called in to attend herds of sick cattle when they believed that the disease could be avoided. If they gave up their work, what else could they do? Perhaps they could retrain for another branch of medicine. Tell them about Theophilus Lindsey and the failure of the Feathers Tavern petition and about Lindsey giving up his position because it was against his conscience to remain a vicar when he did not believe some of the teaching of his church. He took up an alternative ministry.

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