Chennai school violence signifies collective failure
The murder of a school teacher in Chennai by a ninth-standard student was shocking and disturbing. According to media reports, the student is supposed to have seen the recent Hindi film, Agneepath. Media reports also suggest that he was from an affluent family and that he was apparently criticized by this teacher for poor performance in school through a written report to his parents.
A number of questions come to mind as you think about the various issues involved. What was the role of the parents in the case of this student? Were they even aware that he was angry, upset and prone to such extreme violence? Did the student confide his plans with any of his friends? Did he have a track record of violent acts in the past? Was he ever counseled about his performance or about his behavior?
Let us assume for a moment that the attack was beyond everyone’s control. But what about the issue of the teacher’s life that was so abruptly snuffed out? This is the most painful part of this episode and unfortunately hardly covered in the media. Consider the sequence of events – In broad daylight, a school kid (not a professional killer) stabs his teacher multiple times; this happens right in the heart of one of India’s leading metros in the middle of a regular school day, with students and school staff going about their daily routines; then the teacher succumbs to the stab wounds and dies.