The National, Monday November 23rd, 2015
AS the school year comes to a close, it is heartening to note that two secondary schools in the National Capital District have agreed, for the second time, to put an end to their violent rivalry.
Students of Gordon Secondary and De La Salle Secondary schools have reconciled over fights between them over the past weeks.
In peace reconciliation exchange visits last week, student leaders and teachers from Gordon Secondary visited De La Salle Secondary to apologise and water a “peace tree” that was planted by Gordon Secondary students in 2008 to end fights between the two schools.
De La Salle students and teachers did the same to further strengthen the De La and Kokofa Peace Accord, which was signed in 2008 by both schools to recognise their rights to respect each other in the process of learning and not to cause intimidation and violence to disturb their peace in education.
The De La and Kokofa Peace Accord of 2008 was a watershed agreement that was supposed to be long-lasting but was breached this year by students from both schools who allowed their violent behaviour to get the better of them.
It is envisaged that current and future students of both schools will abide by and respect the renewed peace accord.
They should treat it as a permanent agreement and not a temporary truce that can be broken anytime they itch for a fight.
Moreover, the students of Gordon Secondary and De La Salle Secondary students must also refrain from fighting with students from other NCD schools.
In recent years, Port Moresby and Lae have become fighting zones for secondary and primary school students.
Groups of students in many schools in the two cities continue to defy authorities and take matters into their own hands.
They are hardly interested in education and their future development and seemingly go to school to instigate trouble and be part of the ensuing violence.
Continuous fighting among groups of students in Port Moresby earlier this year prompted the National Capital District Commission to call on police to come down hard on students involved in school fights around the city.
“Schools have rules in place for students to follow to express their grievances through the proper chain of command.
Unfortunately, students take matters into their own hands by ignoring the rules.
Police must come down hard on students who instigate fights by arresting them and sending them to jail,” a City Hall spokesman said at the time.
We agree that these students are old enough to understand right from wrong and that the sole purpose of them being in school is to receive an education.
Violence is not part of our education curriculum.
Students who continue to be involved in school fights are jeopardising their future if they are expelled from their schools.
It is imperative for school administrations to establish good working relationships with parents, guardians and the wider community to minimise disciplinary problems among students, especially school fights.
There are many causes of school violence but whatever the reasons, the actions of the students who are responsible for instigating the fights must not be ignored or condoned by the relevant authorities, including parents and guardians.
The continued violence within and between schools clearly demonstrates that the process of addressing grievances has totally failed and that students no longer respect authority and continue to take the law into their own hands.
There is such a thing called friendly rivalry – on the sporting field, in debating contests and in the academic arena where the schools and their students can strive to be champions.
Everyone’s a winner unlike the battlefield.
Indeed, it is our society’s obligation and duty to assist in controlling violent behaviour among school children who are our future leaders.
That duty begins at home with parents and guardians who must manage their children’s behaviour and supervise their activities.
Teachers impart knowledge and should not bear the brunt of failures by parents and guardians to instil discipline and common sense in their children.
It is a competitive world out there and the children who will succeed later in life are those who pursue their goals and dreams through hard work and determination.