Curbing violence in schools

Editorial, Normal

The National, Monday April 18th, 2016

 RULES are regulations that govern the conduct and actions of people in all sectors and walks of life.

There would be chaos and anarchy without rules. 

Therefore, school rules are made to govern the conduct and actions of students.

Growing concerns about the unruly behaviour of students in the National Capital District has prompted a senior education official to call for concrete measures to curb this trend.

NCD Education Services acting assistant secretary Sam Lora says the Teaching Service Act and Education Act allow for schools to make and impose rules of conduct for students.

He says this allows schools to discharge punishment when students disobey these rules. 

“So if the child infringes on these rules, they look through the rule books and penalise them accordingly.”

Furthermore, these rules must be incorporated into a document that should be given to all parents and guardians.

Lora insists that both parents and child must be aware of the procedures of dealing with infringements of certain rules. 

“Very often most schools are not doing that. The rules are there but parents are not aware because they were not informed or given a copy.”

Moreover, teachers must also spend time to go through the rules with their students, especially the new comers. The school management and board must also know these rules so they can effectively administer discipline.

We agree with Lora that there must be rules to also govern the use of mobile phones by students.

Being able to contain minor issues within the confines of the school ground could help minimise it spilling outside the gate and the possibility of others getting involved.

For example, some school fights or conflicts are caused by minor incidents that were not properly addressed by the school management.

While the onus is on the schools to effectively govern the conduct and actions of their students, parents and the community also need to play their part.

Schools aim to educate and equip their students for their future employment and other prospects in life.  Parents and the community have a collective responsibility to develop their children to become useful citizens who can contribute meaningfully to the country’s development, growth and prosperity.

Our children must also become law-abiding citizens who respect other people’s rights to co-exist in a peaceful and harmonious environment. 

And this must begin in homes and schools where the authorities and parents have the added responsibility to instil discipline.

Students get involved in school fights and cult activities because of their lack of discipline. And who is to blame but their parents and school managements.

Existing laws need to be re-visited. Any student found to be involved in school fights and other illegal activities must face the full force of the law. They must be treated as crime suspects. 

Tougher penalties must be applied by schools to curb lawlessness among their students while parents must provide effective guidance and discipline to their children. 

Many parents tend to push this responsibility to the schools, which is not right because teachers have their own roles to play and that is to provide proper education to their children. It is not a good sign when we see primary school children smoking, chewing betel nut and consuming alcohol. If children start adopting these bad habits early in life, their future is certainly doomed. 

Many parents could not care less what their children are doing, which reflects badly in the students’ school reports and final examination results. 

Those parents whose children continue to cause trouble within school premises and in public places should be hauled in for questioning by the police and other relevant authorities. 

Moreover, the schools should not condone the violent behaviour of students and the don’t-care attitude of their parents.

In some cases where schools have tried to take tougher disciplinary measures against students, the parents and relatives have retaliated against the school management and teachers.

In such cases, the schools have the right to call in the police to keep the peace while the conflict is being resolved.

While schools have the right to terminate students who repeatedly breach school rules, they do not have the right to impose corporal punishment.

This form of school punishment was banned many years ago and should not be reactivated.