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”