This is with reference to the editorial “Murder in the classroom,” (Feb. 11). While last Thursday's incident is without doubt shocking, there are many factors that contribute to bad behaviour among youngsters. Imagery, songs and themes in today's movies create hatred and violence in them. The next factor is showing too much affection to children by giving them excess pocket money which encourages them to seek unwarranted pastimes, adversely affecting their character. The selection criteria followed in some educational institutions give preference to money rather than merit, which is another reason. There is also the absence of monthly parent-teacher meets to monitor the progress of wards. Psychological counselling or monthly lectures on how to improve behaviour among children will certainly have a positive effect on students.
Dr. R. Chandrasekaran,
I am an old teacher, 75, with decades of teaching experience. I see in the incident two clear cases of psychological aberration. The student must be a person who takes insults furiously and reacts accordingly, while the teacher could be a nagging type who believes in humiliating students constantly for perceived lapses.
If this were the case of the teacher and the student, then extreme violence is not altogether inexplicable.
A.V. Reddi Sastri,
There are many reasons why students hate some of their teachers, the most common cause being the perceived discrimination by the teacher. I remember a school friend telling me that he wanted to shoot the maths teacher. Nothing of the sort happened, and the angry boy is now a successful civil engineer in the U.K. We all have our favourite and hated teachers. Perhaps teachers' trainers have to introspect on this subject — “student-teacher hatred.”
If the first gruesome act of the boy sends signals of fear, creates uncertainty in the minds of teachers and challenges cordial relations among teachers-students-parents, the second one throws up a debatable question: on whether any radical changes and reformations are required in our educational system, since schools go through the motion of completing portions, testing students beyond their limits.
There have been instances of various incidents of a hate relationship between student and teacher, but the incident in Chennai is one that seems to be extreme. Early warning signals should be noticed and there must be counselling. Children are the future of the world and need to be nurtured well.
The fact today is that children do not occupy an innocent world of their own. They are very much part of the nasty, adult universe. The murder is indicative of a collective failure of society — schools cannot remain untouched when the world outside is not peaceful, fair and just.
Aren't we missing the whole point? If one reads the reports carefully, one realises that this was not a spat or the outlet of boyish anger. Many readers have attacked films, criticised the influence of pocket money and used negative language. But is curbing all this going to correct violent behaviour? We need to get to the root cause of the student's behaviour and this calls for a professionally qualified counsellor. The mental health of students needs to be evaluated every now and then. Blaming parents, media exposure and school managements are not going to solve this problem.