THE EDITOR: As parents, teachers and students we try to interpret the need for school violence. What no one seems to be realising is that students are in dire need of attention that cannot be offered by the school.
Everyone knows and understands that students are lashing out because it is a way to express feelings of anger, but we need to know what is causing that anger. One can't just say that students are behaving this way because they want to vent and show anger, they need to say what is causing that anger.
Is it abuse by a father or a more dominant person at home or on the street? Is it because the student feels threatened by the presence of others who are more capable than them? Is it because they are not in a safe and proper home and are not receiving three meals a day? Or is it because of peer pressure?
I have been watching and observing and the way I see it, students who take part in school violence are followers. If one looks closely at the “bad boys” there is this one dominant boy in the group who speaks on behalf of the others and deals mainly with all the affairs of the group. For example, if they are going to beat up on someone he is the one who makes the call. The other three/four boys are followers, who are trying to fit in.
And that is the main or the real problem plaguing our secondary schools.
On the other hand, if there is a boy who chooses to do the right thing and be a good and faithful student, he is considered a loser.
And this is the harsh reality as no boy wants to be classed in this way, so in order to protect his identity and maintain a status, he will follow the bad boys – and make himself known.
I do not want to ramble on without offering a solution, or rather a hypothesis, because it needs to be tested before it can be proven.
What I believe can solve this problem of school violence is to establish groups of students, ten or so, in Form 1. These students will be like a family for the full five years of their secondary school life. They must have a leader, so the homeroom teacher would appoint the person she believes has the qualities to lead the group. The group seeks to keep the students communicating and just being friendly with one another.
What we must remember is that a child is not born violent. A child becomes violent and so the students do not enter the schools violent. They follow the students in the senior classes and become violent.