There was a very strange news item in the TOI today. I have picked up the title of today’s post from the title of the news story.
A teacher cut the hair of over 90 boys in the name of school discipline at Kendriya Vidyalaya at Kanjikode in Kerala.He may escape disciplinary action after he apologized to the parents.
Pradeep Raveendran went on a snipping spree for over three periods without informing the principal.Parents complained as he ended up giving haphazard cuts to students who he claimed did not keep their hair trimmed.
This news reminded me of my school days.
I went to a small school in a Mumbai suburb run by a renowned educational institution. The school management, particularly a very senior trusty, had very firm ideas about discipline, code of conduct and dress code. And these ideas were strictly enforced. We had a uniform. The school rules specified that the boys’ shorts as well as the girls’ skirts must be two inches below the knee. The boy’s hair must be well groomed and no more than two inches long. The Physical Education (PE) teacher was generally in-charge of enforcing the discipline.
He would stand at the school gate, and inspect the students as they entered the school. In case someone was found violating the rules, he was warned. The same person found violating the rule again, was sent back home.
On some occasions, the senior trustee visited the school and accompanied the PE teacher in the vigil. If he found someone whose hair did not fit regulations, he would mercilessly cut the student’s hair in such a manner, that the poor guy would need to get a crew cut done next day. And no parent ever came to school to complain about it!
What has changed now? All of us would agree that Pradeep Ravindran, the teacher in the news story, is wrong. But most of our parents never thought that the senior trustee was wrong. Why? Don’t today’s parents want their children to be disciplined? I don’t think so. All of us do realize the importance of discipline in our lives. And many times, it’s much easier for a teacher to discipline the kids than the parents.
Is it because today, the teachers have lost the respect that our parents bestowed on our teachers? May be. The teaching profession is no more as respected as it was 35 years ago.
Is it because Pradeep did it in excess? I think that’s really why it went to this extent. Had he done it only with one or two students to set an example, the matter wouldn’t have gone beyond the school gates.
The concepts of discipline and thoughts about the ways to enforce it have undergone a sea change. It is the world of individual choices now, and hence the enforcement would need to be done by motivating an individual rather than by force.