OPINION: Uproar Over Bus Violence

Police last night issued a stern warning to students allegedly involved in damaging four buses. “If our children continue to vandalise school buses, sorry to say, they are inviting the
19 Mar 2018 13:20
OPINION: Uproar Over Bus Violence
Nasese Buses Limited manager Nitesh Prasad shows the damage on the side panel and the missing rear sreen allegedly damaged by some students. Photo: Setilita Bolanavanua.

Police last night issued a stern warning to students allegedly involved in damaging four buses.

“If our children continue to vandalise school buses, sorry to say, they are inviting the law to determine the course of their young career,” said Police chief operations officer ACP Maretino Qiolevu.

His comments came after an uproar from parents who have expressed fear over the safety of their children on school buses.

The parents were alarmed to read in the Fiji Sun that some students ripped out four seats in two buses and damaged the front and back windscreen and lights in another two buses. The four buses belong to Nasese Buses Limited of Suva.

ACP Qiolevu said vandalism was an offence.

“Police are concerned with the involvement of school children in the vandalising of buses,” he said.

ACP Qiolevu said it was a big problem.

“If reported to the Police, we will have to investigate and take the offenders to task,” he said.

“But if young people were involved those responsible for them need to step up.”.

He said parents and teachers played an important role in addressing these issues.

“We don’t want students to get into trouble or come into contact with the law.

“Parents and guardians need to raise this at home and teachers need to address these problems in school.

“Everyone needs to play their part for the best interest of their young ones,” he said.

ACP Qiolevu also highlighted that drivers needed to report to the nearest Police station if their buses had been vandalised.

The Nasese buses were targeted after the secondary schools zone athletics competition at the ANZ Stadium in Suva last week.

The bus company manager Nithnesh Prasad said there had been incidents in the past, but these latest were the worst.

He expressed fear for the safety of their drivers and have contemplated stopping their services during this time.

Parents comments:

Ajesh Prasad, 43, of Nakasi, Nausori, a father of two in high school, said he was concerned with the behavior of students during annual sports events.

“The students should be accompanied by the teachers while traveling to and from their destination and school,” he said.

“The safety of other students also is a concern because of some students, other students lives could be in danger.

“These kinds of acts shown by the students are unacceptable. They should be taken to task so they do not conduct such behavior again,” Mr Prasad said.

Nita Kumari, 37, of Nausori, and mother of three students, said the students’ behaviour was unacceptable.

“Teachers should be accountable to answer to the authorities on such behaviour because they are responsible for the safety of the students and to ensure that they travel safe.

“It scares us as parents if some students’ behaviour continued to be like hooligans, it could raise concerns on the safety of our children,” Ms Kumari said.

Sangeeta Chand, 44, of Nausori and mother of two said such incidents would stop their children from participating in any extra-curricular activities.

“Incidents like these make us parents rethink if we would want to send our children to sporting events or any extra-curricular activities. It not only shows their mindset but also brings the schools and parents name to shame because of their silly acts,” Ms Chand said.

Verenaisi Tucila, 35, of Labasa and mother of two said the issues could be addressed with a combined effort of the parents, teachers, bus companies and Police.

“One party might not be able to control it alone, they need to work together to address this national issue,” she said.

Edited by Percy Kean

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