Even though the big match season is in its latter stages, the hype and celebration is yet to die down. While the season has witnessed some memorable encounters in the pitch, the encounters outside the cricket grounds have evoked negative vibes.
Since of late, we have been coming across several incidents of student aggressiveness. A few weeks ago, a fracas between students of two leading schools in Colombo resulted in injuries and damage to properties.
Yet another disturbing incident involving two schools was reported last week where present and past students of Mahanama College, Colombo had forcibly entered into Yasodhara Girls’ School in Borella.
The incident resulted in a tense situation within and outside the school premises following which the boys were handed over to the police.
Soon afterwards, police announced that all girl schools in Colombo would be provided with police protection.
The incident had taken place when students of Mahanama College were on a parade held to mark their big match encounter with D.S. Senanayake College Colombo.
Reports said that the Principal of Mahanama was not informed of the parade. This is a very unhealthy situation where the head of the school is unaware of what is going on.
The perpetrators also included some old boys, who have already walked out of the school gates to deal with the outside world. The old boys have the responsibility of being good role models to their juniors. They are expected to be mature, responsible and provide guidance to the young ones who waver.
Big match parades are not unusual during the season. The parades organized by the schools are held in the run up of the respective big matches.
Over the many years during which these parades were conducted, there have been many occasions where boys would enter into girl schools for ‘hat collection’.
Some of the girl schools, especially the sister schools of the boy schools, are aware of the parades and would allow them into their premises so that there are no tense situations.
However, there have also been occasions in the past where students had jumped into girl schools without permission and created tension. These students were aptly dealt with by the respective schools.
But why do these things happen? Is it part of the gang mentality? As individuals, all students are harmless and well behaved. Inside the school premises one would see one version of the student. But there are other versions to the same individual student once he or she steps out of the gate and mixes with outsiders.
How one behaves outside the school also has an impact on his or her alma mater.
The situation is different in mixed schools. Girls and boys are comfortable with each other. There is a sense of camaraderie. Boys would even protect their female classmates when they sense tension.
But, it is not the case with other schools were it is either an all girls, or boys schools.
Yes Sri Lanka is indeed opening up where girls and boys are becoming comfortable with each other. But, it still does not give the right for boys to forcefully enter a girls school.
The parents too have to play a crucial role in the upbringing of their children.
Unlike the past, it has become a must for both parents to earn in order to run the family. Therefore, it could be that many children do not get more time to spend with their parents. This could also be a reason for children being aggressive.
It is therefore important for teachers to take up the responsibility of teaching good values to the students.
This big match season will be over soon. What about the next one? Do the police have to provide security to girls schools every time there is a parade?
Published in the Nation on March 25, 2017