In our previous edition we carried an article in which a Form Four pupil at a city high school stabbed a fellow pupil over alleged taunts in class. There have been reports on incidents of bullying in schools with some of them having become notorious for the vice.
While the stabbing incident cannot be condoned, it brings to the fore the level of bullying at schools. This is something that is rarely spoken about and some parents end up transferring their children quietly for fear of causing more problems for their children by confronting the bullies.
We believe schools should have systems in place to deal with cases of bullying since if left unchecked it could affect the learning environment and ultimately the school’s results and reputation. There is a need for both parents and the school authorities to work together to make school spaces safe for all our children.
We surely should not have cases of children dreading to go to school because of bullying, and finding no recourse due to a lack of a responsive system that protects the weak against these wayward children.
We have seen in some countries cases of gangs, some of them armed, emerge from conflicts at schools due to bullying and a rival group also joining forces to defend their turf.
What would have started off as violence by one pupil over another could end up being a catalyst for anti-social behaviour, hence the need to nip such practice in the bud. Now more than ever before teachers and parents need to pay closer attention to school children as there is also the cancer of drugs that has permeated schools around the country.
Some the behaviour of the school children shows that they will be acting under the influence of drugs and early intervention could assist both the individuals and the schools.
Elsewhere in this issue we carry the story of two pupils who are in trouble with the law after deciding to get rid of a pregnancy. It is such wayward behaviour among schoolchildren that needs concerted efforts between schools and parents to address. It is not use pretending that our children are not taking drugs, or that they are not indulging in sex.
We know that many of them are. What we need is to inculcate in them values that will show them that the route they would have taken could land them in trouble. Some of these girl children end up in relationships that they did not really intend to be in but just play along to ensure their security.
There are some bullies that force girls into relationships, while some just fall for these to be assured of safety within the school environment.
It is our hope that schools take bullying seriously and that they have effective systems in place to deal with the vice. It becomes worrying when children start carrying weapons to school.