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Violence, Mob Mentality In Inter-school Rivalry Should Be Condemned

This is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s My Say on FBC’s 4 the Record Programme last night.   The use of violence and mob mentality in inter-school rivalry must
13 Mar 2017 11:00
Violence, Mob Mentality In Inter-school Rivalry Should Be Condemned
Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy.

This is an edited version of Nemani Delaibatiki’s My Say on FBC’s 4 the Record Programme last night.

 

The use of violence and mob mentality in inter-school rivalry must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

Secondly we must act to nip it in the bud.

It appears from the latest reports that competition on the sports field has spilled on to the streets again.

It has happened previously and it’s in the interest of everyone that we must stop it.

If we don’t do something now to stop it, it would become entrenched as a normal part of school rivalry culture. Just because it happened in the past, does not mean that it should happen this year too. We must buck the trend.

The Police and Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy have come out strongly to condemn violence between schools. Police Chief of Operations Rusiate Tudravu, has warned school students allegedly involved in near brawls at the Suva Bus Station that they could be charged if they were caught. He said some students had been charged earlier and their case was before the court.

Mr Reddy said in the latest case, principals of two schools whose students were allegedly involved in brawls, had counseled the students. The students were warned that if they reoffended they would be removed from the schools.

The principals had met to discuss the various strategies on how they would get their respective students under control.

In this campaign there is only one way – zero tolerance on offending students.

Studies have shown that inter-school violence breeds fear and instability among students, teachers and the school system. They find that academic performance suffers and morale plummets in an environment of fear.

Many of these incidents happen outside of the school in public places. So the schools can be restricted in what they could do.

In the latest case, the principals had to put their heads together to decide on a positive way forward.

But where were the parents? I ask this question because many social problems that involve children can be traced back to their families and upbringing.

Children who are well taught in the do’s and don’t about life and raised in a loving way at home are unlikely to engage in anti-social behavior. Some, of course, fall through the cracks. But they are in the minority. Parents are in the first line of defence in any bid to resolve a social problem.

The students who were allegedly involved in the recent case should have known that it is unlawful to assault anyone for whatever reason. They cannot take the law into their own hands and expect to get away with it.

If they have a grievance there is a civilised way of dealing with it and it’s anti-violence. They need to know that in the modern Fiji, dialogue instead of violence is the preferred means of solving a dispute. We all know that violence begats violence. The collateral damage is high in terms human cost and suffering and it benefits no one.

Parents should set aside one a day a week for family counselling and instruction when family members share their concerns, solve problems and celebrate success. Family rules and values are reinforced to help those who may be weak and facing trials like peer pressure and bullying.

I have said this before and I repeat it tonight: Parents cannot abdicate their responsibilities to the schools, teachers, Police, community, civic, church and State leaders.

They have to step up and fulfil their God-given responsibility.

Their failure to do it contributes, in a large measure, to the social problems we encounter today.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

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