August 13, 2010
Professor: Schools are violent places to many boys

School for some male students is so violent that they opt to drop out, says sociologist, Professor Rhoda Reddock, deputy principal of the St. Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies in Trinidad.{{more}}

Reddock made the point last Friday evening while discussing “Gender and Higher Education” at a lecture organized as part of activities to mark the Girls’ High School’s 100th anniversary next year.

She said while many people do not recognize how violent school is for many boys, the issue needs to be made a political one, to be brought to the public’s attention and to be discussed.

The Vincentian-born academic further said many boys, even when they grow up, do not admit to the violence and abuse that they experienced in school.

She said male students are often abused by other male students and sometimes by male teachers.

“[They] are referred to as short, fat, too hardworking, too bright, [unable] to fight, and of course worse, homosexual, sissy, faggot, chi-chi, or whatever the latest epithet might be,” Reddock said.

“For many boys in school, they are also confronted with a context that makes schools very difficult to attend and dropping out of school is also a way of dealing with the challenges of that situation,’ she added.

Reddock later told SEARCHLIGHT that in dealing with the problem, the society must first “admit that schools are violent places to many boys, because many men and boys themselves don’t admit it”.

“Because, to admit it, is to suggest that they are weaker, that they were hurt, they were wounded. And that is not something that men admit to often,” she said.

She said male students may also be abused because of their race, ethnicity and economic background (because they are poor).

“Because of that, it circumscribes their possibilities, it limits their options … it affects their performance in school, it affects their literacy, it affects the ways in which they solve problems. Because if you can’t talk your way out of a problem, you just fight your way out of the problem,” Reddock told SEARCHLIGHT.

She said society must work with teachers, adding that many male teachers believe that youths should fight in school.

“And, therefore, they encourage a climate of violence – female teachers as well,” Reddock said, adding that violence in school, especially among males, is a global issue.

“… [B]ut I think we in this region have not begun to deal with that kind of student-on-student violence in school, and bullying, which is a big issue,” she said. (KXC)