Earlier this week, a video surfaced on social media of an adult physically attacking a Morvant Laventille Secondary student outside the school. At the time, many were unaware of what sparked the incident but as the video was shared, persons with knowledge of some of the details revealed what they were.
The adult was apparently the parent of a female student who had alleged that a male student had behaved inappropriately towards her. School officials reportedly called in the parents of both students in an attempt to deal with the issue but the female student’s parents reportedly refused to attend.
The end result was that at some stage, the parent of the female student, unhappy with how the school handled the issue, decided to take matters into his own hands, resulting in the attack.
Naturally, the video created a firestorm, with many sharing their views. One sector of society was in full support of the father’s action while another was against it.
And this is where the issue of what Trinidad and Tobago society has become comes into being.
While it is understandable that a parent would be angry at any transgression against their child, violence against the offender, especially in this case, was certainly not the way to respond.
Indeed, there are other avenues the parent could have taken, including going to the police if the incident was grievous enough in nature to warrant such. If not, then the school officials’ attempt at mediation between the parents and students could have brought a more positive and meaningful outcome, since counselling could also have been part of the process.
Instead, the parent chose a violent action which may now lead to criminal proceedings against himself. More importantly, the public and brutal manner in which it was conducted now creates an atmosphere around the two children involved and those who witnessed it that will only steadily degrade.
No matter what the situation, this is not the behaviour expected of an adult.
In fact, given the violent nature of the society and the current crime wave, a calmer head should have prevailed, no matter how angry the parent would have been about the situation. One can only fathom what may have occurred if that parent had actually ended up in a meeting at the school to deal with the volatile situation.
In whatever scenario we have, however, adults must always lead by example. In this particular case, the adult should have guided the children down the right path rather than negatively agitating the situation, making it worse and leaving an indelible mark on all who witnessed it directly.
Children, they say, may never take adults’ advice but are quick to imitate what they see from them. What, pray tell, has this adult imprinted in the minds of the students present that day by his actions?
In the same vein, this is the type of responsibility that should be displayed by those adults who have information which can lead to arrests of persons who continue to ill-treat children at State homes, as outlined in the Robert Sabga and Justice Jones reports.
Adults must always lead the way and be exemplars to the youth, who deserve nothing less than to be able to live in safe, nurturing environments.