Once again , the daily news cast always give me the ideas what to write about.
The report says that an 11 year-old Grade V student of Baguio Central School was killed after being straggled and pushed by two male classmates following a heated argument over some careless teasing and prank joke gone bad two days ago. The teacher was not around during the incident as she has to attend to another class . No substitute teachers available to cover the victim’s and suspects’ class where the teacher happens to be absent. School guards and other concerned teachers rushed the student to the hospital as soon as their attention was being alerted by other classmates witnessing the incident. Sadly, the hospital team wasn’t able to revive him. According to the doctor, the victim suffered bruises on the head, concussions and hemorrhage as a result from the fall but couldn’t be the reason for the death as the victims body showed that heavy impact on manual strangulation was the main cause of death.
As a parent, this report is scary, alarming and needs attention.
Few days back, I paid a visit to my son Wine’s class adviser setting aside my dislike feeling on having to talk to teachers. What gave me the idea to march my way there? Well, I have been noticing that Wine has repeatedly told me he wishes to transfer to any school as long as he will never see certain classmates, and mentioning 3-4 names. After the celebration of their Foundation Day, Wine told me there won’t be any school the next day. Doubting the announcement, I tried to contact his cousins and some of my friend parents to verify. Finding out, Classes will resume on a regular schedule the following day. Furious that he lied to me , I sat down and started a careful interrogation. I can’t extract the truth but I can detect fear. So I asked for reinforcement from my mother who happens to have enough experience on interrogation of school incidents, my Mama is a school teacher by the way. Expert as she is, Mama succeeded and told me that Wine is scared of a particular classmate. Hearing a familiar name, I checked the notes I saved on my iTouch . Few weeks after the school year started I made notes on the dates he told me he had a fight at school and recorded also names that is involved. The incident that made me do this personal recording is when Wine tried to ignore a black eye from being punched by a much smaller classmate compared to Wine’s body built who happens to own the name he mentioned that he is scared of. That night , I reviewed the personal recording I have and discovered that this classmate named “A”*(not real name) has appeared more than three times on my record together with three other names B*, C* , D*.
Against my will I decided to see the teacher. I went to the office and they have given me and Wine’s class adviser their conference room to accommodate our conversation. I told her that my presence that day doesn’t mean that I am filing a complain. I made it clear that I am there to bring something to her attention. I refreshed her memory that I once mentioned the black-eye incident during the first month of the school year, She assured me then that anecdotal records were being made properly. So I started to tell her my concerns. I showed her my personal recording and told her about Wine’s sudden dislike about going to school. I admit that Wine is sometimes a pain when it comes to school work but I can also assure that he is such a school lover because nothing can keep him away from going to school(except of course when he is sick because even if he is,he still wants to attend class). So, for him to start making up reasons and lying to me just to avoid attending class is something serious. I mentioned the four names on my notes A*,B*,C*,D* to the teacher and asked what seems to be my son’s problem. Quickly she told me that there is nothing wrong with Wine aside from the obvious problem(not writing on notes when asked) and confess that those four names actually belong to the same kid. A*B*C* as his first ,second and surname respectively and D* being the nickname that he is usually being called in class. SURPRISE and relieved that somehow my son was not fighting almost the entire male classmates as I have been thinking after all. Intrigued, I listened to the teacher’s explanation and apologies on the matter. I told her that I understand and I am not going to interfere with any of the Guidance Department’s protocol on their students. Continuing with our conversation, she told me that she has already talked to the mother of the said student and matters has been brought to her attention as well. She said too , that this kid is the problem student of the class and Wine is not the first student who thinks about not wanting to go to school anymore because of A*B*C*D*. Ending our conference, I expressed my hopes that they will be able to figure out and conduct an action before anything serious will happen, hoping that they will not wait for more parents to come to them for the same purpose I did.
Our children is spending most of their time at school. In a place where we will never know what’s happening not unless we will have the chance to talk to our kids on how their day went, which I have been always trying to do. But, what about the working parents? Exhausted and stressed from work, we can’t deny the fact that sometimes we fail to check on our children’s day to day events. Sometimes, to see good grades will always make us think that our children is doing good and the situation is fine. Academic lessons may not the only factor for the kids to have difficulty. Let us not forget that peer pressure is powerful. Bullying is common and seldom acknowledged and failed to be recognized by the people whose purpose is to supervise like the teachers for example in a school setting. As a parent , this is totally frustrating.
How are we going to avoid this? or at least prevent this from happening?. In modern world like we are in now the media and social influence in a form of television shows, sci-fi movies, super hero cartoons and violent video games contributes a lot. The hectic schedules of parents earning a living will somehow create a gap for us to get into our children’s routine. What are we going to do on matters beyond our control?
The incident in Baguio Central School may serve as an eye opener to parents , for us to increase the level of awareness ten times more to protect our children the best we can do. For the parents having problem child, once recognized, do not hesitate to ask for help. Work hand in hand with the school authorities, after all we trusted them with our children’s possession for at least ten hours a day, 20-22 days a month and ten months of every year. For the teachers and school authorities, may the simple fights and arguments of school children, be it significant, common or senseless would not be taken for grated for we will never know when and what it takes for it to be violent and fatal. May you extend your patience, understanding and compassion as well and willingness to assist help in correcting a problem child and be instruments in changing young individuals to become a better person. To the government, I hope you will revise this “Child-Friendly” law,make exemptions and limitations perhaps? Or a case-to-case basis management. For the teachers to be afraid in getting sued for a simple act of discipline implemented in a classroom, for me is the factor that builds up the student’s confidence to do wrong and act violent. I see it as tolerating young ones bad behavior. I’m praying for actions and improvement.
(pictures from the web)
On Bullying and School Violence: