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School Violence. Whose Fault Is It?

 Eric Duma, XII A

Dear Reader,

In the last months, we have been bombarded with news on the subject of school violence. In Bucharest, an 8-year-old child was raped not once, BUT TWICE by an 11-year-old boy in the school’s bathroom. In Târgu Mureș, a teenager enacted revenge on his homeroom teacher by hitting her in front of his mother. Let’s not forget that Arad is no stranger to this phenomenon. In March, in the vicinity of their high school, two groups “interacted” so belligerently that one boy was gravely injured and had to be sent to the hospital.

All of these instances (and more) have painted a harrowing picture of the Romanian educational system and its students. I must confess that girls going to the bathroom together does make a lot of sense now, considering the fact that you can get beat up or raped in the institution that is supposed to ensure your safety. Therefore, one could argue that school violence is indeed our collective responsibility.

Irrefutable is the fact that a parent must teach their child to behave properly and not get involved in illegal or punishable activities. Indeed, parents are legally responsible for their children’s actions up until the age of 18, thus it is first and foremost the parents’ fault for the increase in violent behaviour among teenagers. However, when those teachings fail, and specifically in the case of school violence, schools and authorities have to act promptly.

Firstly, they have to acknowledge the problem: the first time the child from Bucharest was raped in the school’s bathroom, the principal and the school counsellor tried to cover up the issue. The boy had to be traumatised for a second time for them to admit that an illegal act had been committed. There are thousands of cases as such, the “skeletons” locked in the closet, to protect the school or the delinquent pupil’s reputation. But innocent whispers give away the putrid miasma, so much so that some institutions reek of wrongdoings.

Secondly, there needs to exist a legal framework that allows authorities to punish juvenile aggressors. The teenager from Târgu Mureș had been sent to the police station prior to hitting his teacher. It is conspicuous that this measure had no effect. His punishment? Five days of suspension. He will undoubtedly become a model citizen, for a violent society that is.

In addition, any mildly efficient measures have been drastically reduced over the years. Since September 2022, it has been impossible to expel someone enrolled in compulsory education, and punitive measures have become pats on the backs. An exception to this trend happened in the case of the 10th grader who tried to stab his Japanese teacher in the neck. Authorities classified his actions as attempted murder and put him under house arrest. He was only allowed to leave the house for his therapy sessions, which we truly hope will come to fruition.

Furthermore, what we experience throughout our childhood contributes to the formation of our moral compass and intellect. Opening any social media app, the first thing that I find is duplicity, materialism, more violence, and the glorification of drugs, alcohol and abuse. In the past, names like Mihaela Runceanu and Mădălina Manole were synonymous with the word “culture”. Nowadays, any dead-looking, drunk, and pumped with pills trapper is an idol. How can we expect our younger generation to act properly when this is what is being promoted? A moderate amount of swearing in a song is acceptable, but when every tune uses degrading vocabulary authorities do not have to ask themselves why today’s children are so violent.

Moreover, we see that violence is pervasive even among the ranks of our (dis)reputable lawmakers. Who has not heard George Simion or Diana Șoșoacă shout on live television and turn the parliament into a circus? (Not that it had been regarded any better before they arrived). Who does not remember Vadim Tudor, god rest his crazy soul, and his admittedly amusing and concerning manner of speaking? Maybe such behaviour was promoted because it was funny. Nevertheless, children watch these characters and learn that violent behaviour will not be condemned, but applauded. If all it took for President Zelensky to cancel his speech in the Romanian Parliament was one loud lady and a smartphone, then we are truly doomed.

But why should you care? You are at ‘Moise”, the best high school in the city. We have already seen such tendencies permeate the student body. In addition, the people in question will be your neighbours, your job colleagues, your bosses, and even your lawmakers. It does concern you. Stop this culture of violence!

“To conclude with, I irrefutably believe that this issue can be abated” was what I meant to write a few weeks ago when I came up with the idea for this article. Since then, I have read countless articles on school violence and the educational system. The stark reality is that only an iron hand can topple a system where students organise a barbecue in the classroom (when they are not punching teachers or each other), and the Ministry of Education is run by someone who is adroit in managing ports. Indeed, the educational system is run in the same manner as the Port of Constanța. The iron hand, however, is nowhere to be seen, maybe because it has not been forged yet.

Yours sincerely,

Eric Duma





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