It’s difficult to differentiate which of the two evils is more egregious—the increasing cases of school violence or the delight that young people seem to be getting out of these incidents when in positions to quell them.
Since the reopening of schools last month, there’s been a flood of such cases and a notable rise in fights between school girls for that matter.
The fact that the country is so exposed to it, is in itself a travesty, given that the means by which these matters are being made public are by those who see opportunities to increase their social media engagements by filming the fights instead of stopping them.
The cases are often the same—at least two people involved in fist fighting surrounded by a mob of schoolchildren either egging them on or celebrating each punch.
Fortunately, the old adage of ‘what is fun for school children is death for cockroach’ hasn’t been manifested as yet, but we fear that from what we are seeing we may not be too far from the very worst if efforts to crush these fights are not quickly accelerated.
Just days ago, a video emerge of several students beating one boy so badly that it included kicks and stamps to his head before leaving him alone on the grass where the dastardly act happened.
As it goes with rumours, the word circulating was that the boy had unfortunately died in hospital from his injuries.
The satisfaction we got to learn that reports of his death were not true, did little to allay our deep concerns that we’re on the wrong trajectory of these outcomes.
We are well aware that school fights are nothing new. A school, after all, is just a micro-society existing in a bigger one and these things are expected to trickle down from time to time.
But where there is lawlessness in any form and fashion, there ought to be law enforcers and consequences to quickly follow.
The videos and social media opportunities may well be a catalyst to a disagreement turning into all-out violence, as a student who knows he or she is already being filmed, may feel the added pressure to be captured a victor rather than being labelled by irresponsible peers, a loser.
With cameras recording, the opportunity to walk away can become a lesser option to those without the mental fortitude to seek to diffuse the situation, even at the cost of being mocked as a coward.
But these videos themselves can and should be used as the first forms of evidence when seeking to address those who spurred these fights on instead of quelling them.
Everyone involved can be held to some degree of accountability.
We are pleased that the Police Service is working with the Education Ministry and National Parent & Teachers Association to crack down on these acts with more patrols and other initiatives.
It is important that they work together for the same outcome and that the planned approaches are clear, measurable and come with set deadlines.
It will take good collaboration from all involved with continued action to spot the potential of these acts developing and stopping them from the root.
We trust that their efforts result in a quick cessation of school violence firstly and that the psychological inputs by the authorities within the schools help to eliminate them altogether before an unwanted case of physical abuse tragically turns into an act of homicide.