Ensure students respect authority


GLOBAL behavioural movements in today’s “XY” generation of kids are profound as they have different attitudes, characters, principles and priorities. These have significant potential to define a society’s hold on its social control systems as well as dictate our development spectrum. The current phase of development in development has its challenges that are multifaceted and cross-dimensional. The influence of the development we are going through is trickling right down to the family unit, resulting in moral breakdown in family values and discipline.  Access to technological advancements like mobile phones with social media apps at the fingertip are a culture shock across the population. We will notice that our youth who are out of school gradually adapt to accepting and respecting our society’s social control systems and authorities. Our kids in school, however, live in an environment that confines them. Schools differ from each other in ways phenomenal to each other based, not on the dynamics of the curriculum taught, rather, on the indoctrination that is disseminated and imparted to and exerted on the kids while taking the official curriculum as well within the school boundaries.  The level of dispensation of these regulations and information on the kids is fundamental to their behaviour in and out of school boundaries. Our school administrators who are charged with this responsibility need to exert power and authority. If this is not enforced, the board of management need to exert pressure on the school administrations.  The consequences of disciplinary shortfalls at school must be clear and student’s reaction to authority should be understood well. These kids are social beings, susceptible to change and environments and when too restricted and restrained or too loosely contained in that phase of their development, they indulge themselves in any activity, legal or otherwise, to balance the given equation, even if it means going to the extent of dictating each other’s actions. When this happens, they will undermine the authorities like police, school administrations, government authorities, political leaders and even parents. School administrations must redefine the balance between “too restrictive” and “too convenient” in a school environment and exert power and authority where and when applicable. Students must be taught the significance of authority and the consequences of non-submission to authority.  Parents and citizens must be vigilant and ready to subdue any uprising from students. Our police must not be used and should not be expected to do what parents are supposed to do. Parents and citizens must marshal and embrace social capital to recognise and assume full responsibility for shortfalls in the discipline of students. The unpredictability of our kids can attract forces that could create more problems for society. School cult activities/generational extra-curricular activities and betel nut/smoke/drug consumption are a result of these. Faced with a minor threat to their self or identity, that could trigger the behavioural sparks within to implode and when the developed close-knit bond and school-indoctrinated identity factors sets in, the situation blows out of proportion and develops into a school vs school fight or a school vs community fight. Our police officers have been delicately handling such situations across the country because they know the precarious position of students. To suggest reintroduction of capital punishment in schools or to suggest for police to exert excessive force to address this issue will be devoid of consideration of societal implications in the context of this generation. I believe that the emphasis on family discipline and educational emphasis in recognition and respect for authority will, over time, have a detrimental effect on this behavioural pattern in our kids, to the benefit and advantage of our education system and society at large.

Alois Balar,
Baining Mountains,
East New Britain,