US

MISCONDUCT

March 17, 2017
By S. K

In a school, it’s not unusual to encounter your own version of Professor Snape, Professor Quirrel and Dolores Umbridge. But then you also find teachers who are like Professor McGonagal and Albus Dumbledore.

Bullies reign out

In a school, it’s not unusual to encounter your own version of Professor Snape, Professor Quirrel and Dolores Umbridge. But then you also find teachers who are like Professor McGonagal and Albus Dumbledore.

In other words, there are good teachers and there are bad teachers.

But then all students are not like Hermione or Cedric: all schools have their own versions of Malfoys, Crabbs and Goyles, and it’s these students that test teachers, for teachers are the ones tasked to inculcate values that are foreign to some students. Yes, we are talking about students who like using profanity in their conversations, and harassing teachers and fellow students by engaging in disruptive activities. And, heavens help teachers who try to discipline such students if they are from the privileged class!

Recently, a school in Clifton came under attack on social media when posts were shared by some students accusing school administration of using extremely harsh measures to censure some students involved in disruptive activities.

According to these posts, students were made to stand in the sun for about three hours because some of them had used gutter language while addressing fellow students. These students had been disrupting classes and using profanity despite repeated admonishments. In addition, they had the temerity to throw something akin to dungbombs at the administrative staff.

The school’s principal tried to counsel these students on several occasions, but in vain. Their parents were called and apprised of their offspring’s behaviour, but the miscreants continued their activities with impunity. Things came to a head when they used profanity once too often. The principal detained the senior school after morning assembly, and talked to them about what had been happening (unbecoming conduct of students, disturbing classes, breaking lines, harassment of administrative staff by about four to five students, etc) . Two classes were sent back within half an hour but the rest were made to stay. 

The measures taken by the school to discipline these students can be termed strict, so we asked the school admin to comment upon the matter.

“First we tried counselling, but when that failed we called the parents of all these students individually and discussed the problem with them,” said the principal of the senior section of this school.

Students retaliated by using social media to protest, under assumed names, of course, which triggered a debate about the role of teachers in moulding the character of students. It’s true that teachers have a great responsibility to inculcate values and ethics in their charges, but parents should realize that teachers cannot do that singlehandedly; they need to do their bit, as well. Unfortunately, parents think that their duty is done after getting their children enrolled in good schools, which isn’t true. To nurture moral values in their children, parents need to work closely with teachers. Those parents who did nothing to stop their children from disrupting classes - even after being apprised of the situation - thought nothing of accusing the school authorities of unbecoming conduct. Did they sit down with their kids and discuss the issue at home? Apparently, even if they did, it had no impact on the children. Unfortunately, taking to Facebook to malign the school seems to be the sole contribution of some of them.

Not a single student was expelled for misconduct, and none of the parents withdrew their children from school. “They are our children; we will not destroy their academic careers by expelling them. We want them to leave school as responsible citizens with impeccable values,” answered the principal when asked why such students were allowed to stay in school.

Time for harsh punishments is over! Students deserve to be treated with compassion and respect, but so do teachers.