For the last few decades, the country has witnessed enough and more incidents of violence against children which, in spite of various preventive measures taken by the authorities, continue to be rampant.
And then there are occasional stories of violent children who are not necessarily those of the powerful. The pandemonium that broke out at the Vidyaloka College, Galle was one such incident that exposed the extent of violence the students were capable of unleashing—of course under the guidance of parents and teachers.
What a way to celebrate World Children’s day!
In the aftermath of the fiasco, the school was temporarily closed and the newly-appointed principal was injured and hospitalised. The police reported that he was denied entrance to the school by a large crowd including the UPFA Provincial Councillor Ven. Baddegama Samitha Thera that had gathered at the main gate.
In June this year, an incident of similar nature broke out in a school in Pelwatte where a group of students assaulted a few teachers for not allowing ragging in the school premises. It was no minor occurrence when the assault by the students sent two teachers to the Buttala Hospital, one of them with head injuries.
What happened in Galle this week would not come as a surprise to the public that have seen the students showing their fangs in public protests against the university authorities. Yet, under no circumstance should it be that innocent school children fall prey to the petty political agendas of the teachers, parents and the past pupils’ unions. They are not sent to school for the purpose of pelting stones and shouting slogans of which they know little.
The adults who instigate unrest among them in such a shameless manner should be mindful of the fact that children are not political animals. Hence, it is their duty to spare them from the horrors of politics until they reach the age.
A child in a uniform carrying a placard or damaging school property should not be the standard image of the Sri Lankan student. A school kid is not a member of a rebel group, neither is he/she an army recruit to carry out the orders of the supposed commanders, irrespective of the morality behind them.
Whether they took part in the protest willfully or otherwise is another matter.
History bears witness to students falling prey to the vicious currents of politics. No parent would want to see a repetition of the Sooriyakanda tragedy and his/her child being a victim of it.
The ‘rebel’ label looks ugly on children; and thuggery is not in the recommended school curricula. Of course, the teachers would have known better.