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We should have Rachel cry no more

Thankfully and gratefully, we have no chronicles of, or experience in, infanticide or mass child murder. The gunning down or slaughter of our schoolchildren is unheard of –– and shall remain so.

We are averse to such happenings, the likes of which have too often burst on the news scene in the United States, with pupils from five years to ten perishing in the carnage. Sometimes the tragedy strikes through the hand of a lone gunman roaming the classrooms. Other times, it is an angered student himself relieving tension or exacting vengeance.

Often, the killers turn their weapons of death on themselves. And it is not unknown for some of these murderers to have first taken out a parent or both –– or teacher –– before going on their rampage.

We have no such blood-soaked and gory scenes here; which speaks to the overall temperance of our nature, and the national shock we go into when we learn of children killing one another. Squabbles and fights there may be, with making up coming soon in their wake; but the undisguised evil of child murder and mayhem not!

The not so quiet weekend last was soon torn apart with the reported horror of the alleged stabbing to death of a 14-year-old by a preteen. That the news was unspeakable and virtually unbearable makes for an understatement.

The grief of the parents and loved ones of the victim would most certainly be beyond words; the helplessness, shame, discomposure and dilemma of the alleged killer’s family not without notice. In the face of such tragedy, we can’t help but ask: why? Unconfirmed reports are disagreement between the two schoolboys came over a simple dollar coin.

Whether it is so or not, we cannot help but lament this newest trend among us –– schoolchildren and adults –– of avenging that which we perceive to be injustice by whatever means of violence we may. As Christians even, we must speak out against such barbarity, promoting conflict resolution through reasonableness and forgiveness.

More now than ever we need to impress upon our children that religious knowledge in the classroom is more than a subject for grading. It may not there be the springboard to the much touted “salvation” and being “saved”, but it can be a catalyst for change in hearts scabbed by bitterness and an appetite for reprisal.

It behoves us all to muse upon the words of the Master Jesus Christ:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?

And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

–– Matthew 5:43 to 48.

Just hours before the horrible tragedy we have alluded to, yet another group of tardy students were taking a stand, exercising their rights, as they would put it. The 32 of them, suspended for late attendance at school, in some cases for as many as 20 times, took their case to the Ministry of Education at its headquarters at the Elsie Payne Complex in Bridgetown. No mean feat when you consider that they came all the way on Friday evening in the torrential rains from the Daryll Jordan Secondary School in St Lucy to complain for their principal Mr Stephen Jackman.

The long and the short of it is, impressed by the daring of the group and its vocal leader, and driven to empathy by a sodden and shivering few, officers of the ministry took “a humanitarian approach” –– a euphemism for pandered –– to said students. The result: Mr Jackman’s suspensions were overturned by Deputy Chief Education Officer Karen Best, pending some investigation, after which suspensions could be reinstituted if deemed necessary.

And who will the deemster be?!

We do our children great wrong when we send them mixed signals on discipline and on taking basic responsibility for their deeds and actions. We do them even greater evil when we capitulate and fall victim to their emotive machinations and histrionics. We thought the experts in the Ministry of Education would have been the wiser.

Rachel is indeed weeping for her children, and will not be comforted for they are not. And at the rate we are all going, they likely will not . . . !

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