Every time there is recorded/reported violence in a school the psychologists, sociologists, criminologists, et al come out in their numbers with theories about juvenile delinquency and the need for more research and analysis to be done to determine the causes, etc, such as the case of the recent stone-throwing incident against a teacher at Williamsville Secondary.
I think it’s time we stop pussyfooting and start enforcing the laws and establishing the institutions to address not only deviant and criminal behaviour in children but delinquent parents as well. People must understand that there will be consequences for their actions or inactions. So since we have decided to spare the rod let’s try the following and see if we could save some of our youth from starting a life of crime in the first place.
• Fully embrace The Children Act 2012 which has a provision (Part X -Child Offenders) that “if the court is of the view a parent or guardian of a child who has been convicted of an offence, has failed to exercise reasonable care of or supervision over a child to ensure that the child does not commit an offence, the court may call upon the parent or guardian to show cause why he should not be required to pay a fine”. Time to hold parents responsible if they fail to exercise reasonable care.
• The soon-to-be-established community constabulary according to our new PM should visit all schools with a view to educating (providing they themselves are first conversant with the relevant laws) children, parents and teachers (as teachers are guardians themselves) about their roles and responsibilities under the Children Act.
• All schools should have a hotline to the nearest police station (Child Protection/Juvenile Delinquent Unit or whatever we wish to call it) to report any serious misconduct or criminal activity at the school or depending on the level of delinquency at the school should have police stationed on site.
• Depending on the severity of the incident it can be dealt with at the school in the presence of the police, the teacher/s and parent/s or at the police station. The police will get an opportunity to emphasise to parents their responsibilities and possible liability under the Children act for the deeds of those minors under their care and collaborate with social services.
• Give the necessary social, psychological or other such support to parents who are really trying with their children and having a hard time coping but remove those children from abusive and dysfunctional homes and place them in the community residences referred to in the act to at least give them a chance to a better life.
• To echo the sentiments of a former mayor— “All healthy young persons who are not usefully employed or pursuing studies should be required to do two years compulsory national service for the country, the first part of which would require them to become literate. This will not only literally keep many of them off the streets but it will give an opportunity to those who do not want to continue the downward spiral towards criminality to leap out of it. Not everyone is made for a profession or office employment. National service will allow such persons to retrain and to perhaps find a worthwhile place in this country.”
• Teachers who breach the ethical standards of the teaching profession should be removed from the system —children must know that rules apply not only to them but to adults (teachers) as well.
So let us once and for all stop pussyfooting with short-term, isolated and unconnected experiments and initiatives which have not been producing any lasting improvements and try the above suggestions which just might.