Kids and mentors

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


THE other day, parents of children in our central elementary school, which is just a stone's throw away from our residence in the town of Balamban, complained that the school no longer allows them to enter the school grounds to fetch their kids from the classrooms at dismissal time as a security measure. Instead, the teachers bring their pupils to the main gate themselves.

The result, according to some parents, was an overcrowding of parents outside the gate and anarchy of kids of mixed ages and teachers inside, not to mention crying kindergarten children. Having a five year-old kindergarten great granddaughter who would cry if no one fetches her from the classroom when her class was off, I was clearly worried.

I asked some parents what could be the cause of the sudden change of the school district's security arrangements. There was nothing definite in their reply, but one can hazard a guess, that it could be the recent killing of a parent who was fetching her child from Barangay Vito Elementary School. The place is five kilometers along the proposed provincial road to Talamban in Cebu City.

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It seems that the mother went to the school early to be there when classes was dismissed for lunch. But someone was sort of waiting for her. The gunman did not waste time when the opportunity presented itself. But the feedback from the police that I got was that she had the bad habit of making enemies, and it is possible that one of those enemies could no longer take her contrary ways and settled the score.

And so, quite a good number of the kids had to endure the results. My great granddaughter last Monday was saved by the heavy rains and winds. She had to be fetched from her class with umbrella. And so were the other kids, including those with cars. But yesterday, she had to brave it to the school gate. She was able to get home without any delay and without any impediment.

She went out with the class along with their teacher, who also had to brave the heat of the noonday sun and the glaring nearby sea. But Jeddah was cross and near tears again because of the anarchy at the lone exit gate of the school. Why did the school authorities allow this to happen when they could just impose stricter rule on visitors rather than do what they are doing at the expense of the hundreds of children?

I think the elders should do everything for the convenience of the kids, especially since it could be the first time that the small ones are exposed to a horde of other kids. And many of them are still timid and shy to the extent of feeling threatened by the presence of other kids, especially so when there are bullies among them.

Whether we like it or not, there are always bullies. And there are mentors who enjoy talking than teaching.

Now, don't get me wrong. Sometime ago when I was 19 and fresh from high school in 1949, I taught in grades V and VI to earn my first semester tuition for college. It is not easy to be a teacher, to be molding the first design of a young mind.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 23, 2014.

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