18 July 2012 The common understanding among schools across the country that any student, who comes into conflict with the law, will be expelled, and not get admission in any school in the country is being viewed as extreme and unfair, mostly by parents.

With students making up almost a third of country’s population, the likelihood of a good number of them, particularly those in the teenage years, coming into conflict with the law for acting on impulse, or for no fault of theirs, is very high.

It is only natural for teenagers to get caught up in the occasional brawl because of rivalry, a friend, a girl, or to try out things that adults do like lighting up, gulping down and driving uncle’s car without a license.  All these things could end up as police cases, and schooling could come to an end.

While those with the means will send their children out of the country to continue schooling, it is those without the means that are likely to suffer the most from the strict implementation of such a rule.  This, some say, is likely to breed a whole group of angry dissatisfied youth, who will eventually turn into hardcore criminals over time.

As it is teenagers, who end up on the wrong side of the law get locked up in the same space with hardcore criminals.  What impact will this have on minds that are like clay, and can be moulded into any long lasting shape?

But if schools are taking such radical measures to discipline students, it is because of the spate of crimes in recent years that involved a number of students.

The indications were clear that things were getting out of hand in an environment, where corporal punishment is no longer permitted, and parents live in denial of what kind of mischief their offspring are capable of.

But these problems indicate other bigger issues that society is grappling with, and one of them is parenting in a rapidly urbanising Bhutan.

With many parents having gone through school, it should seem that they would be better parents, after all they can read and write stuff, wash their hands before eating, know what a healthy diet is and so on.  Yet when it comes to bringing up children, for many it’s a struggle what with a career or a business to attend to.

Schools across the country have revisited their discipline policies, and drawn up more stringent and practical measures to inculcate them.  Distinctions are also being drawn between misbehaviour and criminal acts.

But criminalising what cannot be managed is perhaps not the best way in bringing up the future.


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