About a month ago the six o’clock news led off with a report on a seventh grader shot dead by a security guard on school premises. Following media’s narratives, the incident seemed to have nothing to do with securing the school premises much less with the educational system.
It seemed to be just one of those sensationalized crime stories. Institutional accountabilities had not entered the narrative. Nothing of the sort beyond ordinary criminality everyone sees on TV every day.
The killer had gone into hiding. The reports say it was his conscience that eventually convinced him to surrender and admit to murdering the young child he had been keeping under his roof.
Typical of the tabloid and voyeur nature of TV reporting where media focus on the gory and sensational while the audience eats up whatever’s served them, voyeurism is a constant. It sells TV time and constitutes the idiot box’s substance.
Nobody discusses the impetus or the deeper social impact of crime in our schools even when reports are annotated to scenes of incessant weeping and wailing. That makes sense. TV caters to a seven-year old’s mind.
Instead, the deeper discourses might be discussed within the school system as perhaps a debate on the sociology of violence, the psychology of sex predators or the vulnerability of children to social malcontents. Term papers and thesis are written. Grades are given and the paper is filed away in some corner steel cabinet.
Unfortunately, where such violence is carried out within the school premises and involves these effective surrogate parents who range from school personnel, teachers, professors and even non-faculty members like security guards, cafeteria personnel, janitors and school bus drivers tasked with the welfare of students, then deeper discourses are avoided.
Privacy, supposedly for the victims as well as the perpetrators are invoked. Everyone shuts up. Until the next episode. Or the next death. And then the vicious cycle repeats.
Unstated and taboo, the integrity of the school becomes foremost especially in highly competitive markets.
The death of the seventh grader is a case in point. That the headline news was quickly relegated as old news within a week is part of the analysis. So was the missing detail on the school’s identity and the responsibilities of a slew of surrogate parents the school employs.
The authorities treated the killing as a security matter and avoided the issue of pedophilia.
Ironically the victim knew what this was all about but no one was truly listening despite the fact that the child, under Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act, had filed four counts of sexual abuse against the guard.
Studies show those empowered to address these issues are complicit school officials who refuse to recognize pedophilia within their ranks. In open public discourse, underlying issues of pedophilia and sexual predation were simply footnotes discussed only in whispers. The result is virtual acquiescence and consent.
Research also shows most sexual abuse programs rely on students to take the initiative to report. That’s a cop out. It is the adults, not the children, who have the duty to keep schools free from pedophiles and sexual predators.
Once, in a Catholic university, students reported that one professor would invite them to his room, and on the pretext of a game, would force them to bare their feet so he could lick their toes. Although identified, this predator remains uncharged and scot free.
Thus, students have little faith their school will protect them. The few brave resort to social media, a medium school officials regard as unofficial. Unfortunately, deliberate dereliction and shame push educators to circle wagons to protect colleagues and the school more than the children. Meanwhile victims are ruined for life or are forced into isolation, even suicide. Note that the incidences of those are increasing.
The abandoned simply end up with two bullets fired at the back of their heads.