March 4, 2014
Lack of respect in our younger generation

Tue Mar 4, 2013

The recent arrest, charging and fining of at least three students for open disregard for law and order and obstruction of a police officer in the execution of his duties are an unfortunate reminder of that disturbing sub-culture of disrespect for authority.{{more}}

And we ask the question here for the people with the expertise in behavioural matters: Do we need to strengthen the existing institutions we depend on to inculcate the accepted values and mores, or do we need additional social support structures? We ask because there seems to be a stubborn presence – a very visible segment of the society, which seems to remain outside the positive sphere of influence of parental guidance, the extended family, the church and the school. They seem to adhere strongly to an anti-establishment posture, a ‘no-informer’ stance in matters of cooperation with authority, including school officials and the police.

In the matter referred to here, it was not the stereotypical poor, uneducated youths who were involved either.

All were secondary and tertiary level students, who all took the side of a minibus driver who was resisting arrest and was actually engaged in a roadside fight with the officer.

The students – caught on camera because of the popular practice of capturing these events for social media sharing – were heard: urging the driver to beat the police officer; using indecent language to the officer; and obstructing the officer. Each was fined $400 with an alternative one month in prison. There was, incidentally, a teacher who was also charged and fined in connection with this incident, for using threatening language to the officer. And that makes the concern even more worrying.

The minibus operator in question was jailed for six months on the seven charges coming out of the incident.

The police obviously have their work cut out to build relationships with this uncooperative group and other segments of the society. And their work in this regard must come under constant public scrutiny.

However, our focus here is on the social support structures, whose cracks, a number of, mainly young, people seem to be regularly falling through. The pull towards deviance seems to be gaining additional appeal. Again we ask, how do we fashion our social ‘support’ nets to pull things back?