Handling Delinquency with Value Education

We should not judge them quickly, but learn to respect and validate their emotions
"Every good teacher has a story to tell. I shall share here few case studies which I have collected from the field during my research." [Representational Image]
"Every good teacher has a story to tell. I shall share here few case studies which I have collected from the field during my research." [Representational Image] Wikimedia Commons/ Government of NCT of Delhi

How Delinquents are born? To answer this question I shall start here with a Case Study. A 13 year old boy steals some food from a shop because he is hungry and has no money.

The shopkeeper catches hold of this boy and gives him a sound beating, people around joined the chorus without ascertaining the reason of theft. They undressed and tied him against the poll.

The boy was not comfortable bare chest because he had a chest wall deformity called as pectus excavetum.

There is a term in sociology called Bystanders Effect - when people witness oppression but stay back as mute spectators. Same scene was exhibited here.

People flocked and started taking video and released it within seconds on social media, YouTube for wide circulation. Finally he was handed over to police and sustained to further torture, meanwhile this news reached his school and concerned teachers transmitted it to other quarters.

The ailing mother of the boy bailed him out of jail. Throughout this ugly experience the boy was not given an opportunity of being heard.

His mother died of the cardiac arrest after two months of the incident, in school he was treated as an uninvited guest and finally he dropped from the school.

There was no one to wipe his tears. He experienced post-traumatic stress disorders, and developed strong revengeful anti- social tendencies. Finally he joined a gang and became a habitual rather hardcore offender. Still there are some good stories to share.

Every good teacher has a story to tell. I shall share here few case studies which I have collected from the field during my research. A girl falls asleep during class but her teacher decides not to reprimand her.

A few days later there was parent-teacher meeting. Parent of some child took the floor and said we are disappointed by the teacher’s behavior. He allowed a student to sleep during class without reprimanding her. What kind of education he is giving to our children if he allows a student to disrespect him? The teacher then stood up and said “You want to talk me about respect.

But you are judging a girl without knowing her situation. Do you know her parents do not attend these meetings, because her mother is a single mum and has two other small children? She works at two different places to sustain her family which includes two ailing elders. While she is out, her daughter attends the domestic chorus.

I let her sleep for a while during the class because she needs some peace. I cannot treat all my students the same because they are all different. In my teaching profession I do not deal with objects but with blooming buds. My duty is not just teaching and marking: the best lesson is altruism, compassion and mutual help.

The good teacher has to read the silent gestures of his students. This speech pricked the consciousness of every parent. People are ever more distant and cold with each other; but the example of this teacher gives us hope and lesson “In All Things be Men”.

We should treat others with empathy and kindness. We should not judge them quickly but learn to respect and validate their emotions. In our own small way we can make a big ever-lasting difference.

I met a tribal teacher of a mobile school at Nagbal he shared interested case study with me. He once had a small girl in first grade who fell asleep every day after recess.

When the other students questioned and started making fun of her the teacher acted fast and counseled them. She was a daughter of a migrant worker who helped her parents in a poultry farm till late night. Her tiny hands were calloused and rough.

The teacher told rest of the class to be kind to her. I thank Almighty Allah for calling these men to his service as teachers. I shall share another interesting case study.

A boy wants to drop out of school but his class mates discover the truth. Just before the end of the school year Rashid (name changed) made an announcement to his classmates that he will not continue his studies from next session.

Teachers were indifferent to the news they thought he was just the unruly teenager who did not want to study anymore. They did not seek explanation and ignored the issue. His classmates knew Rashid and sensed that there was something wrong.

They investigated and discovered the sad truth about Rashid, his family was in dire straits and the boy knew his parents would struggle to pay for his schooling. So he decided to drop-out and support his family. His friends decided to step in and do something for Rashid.

They collected small fund from their savings, wrapped it into an envelope and gave it to Rashid. On the face of the envelope was written your scholarship. The boy burst into tears of joy and his classmates hugged him.

His teachers who witnessed the scene felt sorry for their indifferent behavior. This case study carries a message that delinquency should not be judged on face value.

It is easy to point a finger but we should not be pre-judgmental without knowing the background. There was a delinquent boy who messaged his classmate with some very rude and insulting words. When her mother came to know on the WhatsApp group of parents she publicly felt sorry and apologized on behalf of her son.

The women counseled his son to apologize to his classmate and accompanied him to his residence. The boy carried a box of chocolates and asked for forgiveness for his unruly behavior.

She pointed out to him that due to bullying, using inappropriate language against classmates many of them take it to heart and display withdrawal and escapism tendencies; they consider themselves of little or no value. The boy realized his mistake and assured his mother to amend his delinquent behavior.

During parent-teacher meet in an informal discussion one mother shared an interesting case study with the audience. I received a call from my son’s school.

He had made some hurtful comments on the shoes of a poor classmate. I was so disappointed by the incident. My husband and I both come from the humble background.

With lot of sacrifices and much effort we managed to turn our situation around giving our child a happy life free from financial worries, but we did not want him to become spoiled. I gave you these branded pair of shoes to make you happy not to make you feel superior.

You cannot judge others based on what they can or cannot afford. People’s value does not depend on material things they possess. When I was of your age I had to walk miles to go to school on foot.

My shoes were always covered with soil and worn-out. Do you think it would have been nice if someone made fun of me because of that? My son shook his head and sighed thinking the telling-off was over.

But I added “ I want you to understand that people must not be judged by appearance so you must swap with your classmate and give him your new shoes. My son initially showed some reluctance but I took him to school and made sure he kept his promise.

After bearing a grudge for a week he came to talk to me. You were very right mum, I was wrong. I found that my classmate’s family is going through a hard time. I should not have judged him without knowing his story. Wearing his shoes I understood we are not defined by objects.

I am not worthless because I wear cheap shoes and my classmate is not worth more because he wears branded shoes. Initially I thought I had gone too far taking away my son’s favorite shoes but after listening to his words I realized one thing: sometimes striking measures are needed to pass on a strong message.

After this incident I realized I had pampered my son too much his demands should be justified and within limits. To conclude delinquency is to be treated as a symptom of a curable disease.

This whole article revolves around one verse of Surah Al:Hujarat( 49:6):

O you who have believed if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done regretful.

Dr Showkat Rashid Wani, Coordinator Institute of Correspondence Education, University of Kashmir

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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