More details needed about the student's background: expert

Those working with children's issues say more details are needed about the background of the 15-year-old boy who attacked his teacher in the classroom at St. Mary's Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School on Thursday, to understand his behaviour.

According to them, it is unusual for a child to carry out an act of such violence without help either from his peer groups or from adults. K. Jayanthini, who heads the Child Guidance Clinic in the Institute of Child Health, says people do act impulsively when faced with fear, but children rarely react in such a violent manner. According to her, it depends on the nature of the individual.

It is necessary to understand the boy's socialisation process, his emotional and temperamental level and cognitive ability to understand his behaviour, she says.

Various factors such as family circumstances and his peer group may make a child vulnerable to violence, Dr. Jayanthini says.

M. Srinivasan, associate professor, Department of Criminology, University of Madras, who has studied more than 2,000 children involved in offences, says that it is only very rarely that a child commits an offence such as murder alone.

Citing his study of both cases pending and disposed cases in the State, he said: “More than 50 per cent of the offences are thefts. Instances of violent behaviour including murder are quite rare,” he says.

“Poor background”

“Around 60 per cent of children who committed these crimes were employed. Most children were found to be from economically poor backgrounds. However, it does not mean that children from affluent backgrounds do not commit offences,” Dr. Srinivasan adds. Meanwhile, the police have registered a case under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (Punishment for murder), produced before the Juvenile Justice Board and sent the boy to the observation home in Kellys, police said.

According to State level statistics provided by the National Crime Records Bureau for the year 2010, 43 juveniles were apprehended for murder. Of them, nine were in the age group 12 to 16 years.

More In: Chennai