“We are still grappling with—and even clueless about—how to curb the high crime situation in the wider society. Any wonder the violent behaviour is mirrored in our schools?
“And let us not stick our head in the sand because these pupils live in the communities and maybe even repeatedly interface with the criminal elements that can influence their young minds.”
The following Letter to the Editor calling for immediate action on school violence was submitted to Wired868 by Mr Salaah Inniss of Santa Rosa Heights:
What is going on in our nation’s schools? From primary to secondary, there is just an upsurge in lewd, violent and abhorrent behaviour by pupils, both girls and boys.
And that is the crux. Why can’t we come up with a viable solution to curb school violence by children? Because that’s who we are dealing with—children. School counselling, professionals in the field of child psychology and social workers must play an active part in our nation’s schools.
I am sure there is empirical data to show that there are citizens in our country with degrees in psychology. Why can’t the Education Ministry employ these professionals, if not on a full-time basis at least on a contractual arrangement whereby they make themselves available part-time.
Because the truth is that they can’t rely on the full-time teachers to be responsible for carrying out the sensitive tasks required.
School hazing, bullying and peer pressure are some of the ills plaguing our schools. Parent-teacher associations must also be actively involved in all schools, engaging the parents, propagating the right values in their message and ensuring parents get involved with their children.
In some schools, violence may be a minor issue while in others it may be a daily occurrence. Though the most extreme forms of violence are rare, I believe, the threat of all kinds of violence can keep students away from school, prevent them from going to after-school events, and eventually leave them in fear every day.
Surely this is not an environment conducive to learning and healthy development.
It is the responsibility of teachers to be aware of each child in their class so that they are able recommend to school counsellors after appraisal the child who is displaying signs of indiscipline and/or exhibiting potentially destructive or dangerous traits.
We are still grappling with – and even clueless about – how to curb the high crime situation in the wider society. Any wonder the violent behaviour is mirrored in our schools? And let us not stick our head in the sand because these pupils live in the communities and maybe even regularly interface with the criminal elements that can influence their young minds.
There must be effective communication to clearly address these violence issues and concerns. There must be a strong stand against school violence in any form and schools have the responsibility not to accept or tolerate violent behaviour.
It is imperative that we talk about what school violence is in a broad way and that we involve the student body, who should not be excluded from these discussions. In fact, we should make it a point of duty to sincerely listen to their ideas and concerns.
The time to start dealing with this problem is now. We should not wait to have a repeat of the April 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, USA, on our hands.
Over to you, Minister Garcia.