SCHOOL FIGHTS: A WOUND LEFT UNATTENTED FESTERS AND KILLS

By SCOTT WAIDE*

Last Sunday, another  teenager, a student at Bumayong Secondary school  died  at Lae’s Angau hospital   from severe knife wounds he sustained in  another  unnecessary  clash  between students.
The foolishness of   students who succumb to peer pressure  is inexcusable. But  the ignorance of parents and  education authorities  of the  root causes behind the ongoing school fights is unforgivable.

Three months ago, education authorities  along with stakeholders in the Lae community   met to discuss possible solutions  to the school fights.   I attended  as an observer of the proceedings.
I could not take the jeers  and  sarcasm  displayed by older  members in the meeting who downplayed the organizational structures of the school based groups  responsible for the  violence.
I felt the need to stand up in the crowd, uninvited,  and vent on  the unsuspecting senior members  attending the meeting.

Why do you  joke about student  organizational structures that have  become more powerful than school administrations?  Why  do you find it funny that  key members of the groups carry titles like “Right Hit man” and “Left Hit man” or “the President?”

Is it amusing that  three teenagers have died  so far since 2012 from school fights?
For a journalist and a father of a teenage son who turns 18  in July next year,  it  infuriates me  that  education authorities mask their  impotence and indecisiveness   by   hiding  behind  government  protocols and failing epically  to expose the perpetrators  and  end the problem.

School  authorities in Lae remain tightlipped this week  over measures  they’re taking  as a result of ongoing school fights.

Bumayong secondary School has been closed since  Monday.  Police were called to Bumayong  early Sunday morning  when  angry relatives stormed  into the school grounds  to seek revenge.
Meanwhile, formal classes at Bugandi – another school  that witnessed the death of a student -   are not being conducted.    Students at Bugandi  Secondary are currently taking school work home  as a means to discourage organized school fights.

School authorities  and those who have done studies on the problem say “it’s a sensitive issue and information can’t released.” I say:  “a wound that is covered and left unattended  festers and  kills”

*Scott Waide blogs over at TINGTINGBLOKANTRI