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Judicial CP - April 2001

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Associated Press, 4 April 2001

Saudi Students Publicly Flogged

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Eight high school students were publicly flogged as punishment for attacking a group of teachers, a Saudi newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Saudi students were each flogged 40 times in the school yard with their parents in attendance, the daily Al-Eqtissadiyah reported.

The teachers were attacked Saturday, as they left the school just outside the holy city of Medina in western Saudi Arabia. The students apparently were targeting a teacher who had called a student a "barbarian," the newspaper reported.

The teacher who made the comment was treated for cuts and bruises at a local hospital and released, according to the paper.

In addition to the flogging, the eight students were barred from taking their final examinations and the school's headmaster was transferred to another school.

Saudi officials were not available for comment.

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.

Corpun file 7182 at


Arab News, 22 April 2001

Violence in schools needs urgent attention

By Nourah Abdul Aziz Al-Khereiji

LAST week this was a front-page headline in one of the Kingdom's newspapers: "Woman storms boys' school, assaults teacher over son's low grade."

I was shocked! How dare a woman enter a boys' school? The story was that a mother from Makkah entered the elementary school and bloodied the face of her son's teacher, kicking and punching him because he gave her son low grades. Bracelets and other jewelry which the woman was wearing at the time of the attack were the principal cause of the teacher's injuries.

What shocked me was how the woman had the courage to enter an all-male school that she is not supposed to come close to. Where was the guard at the time and why didn't he try to stop her? Where were our audacious male staff and administrators? Why didn't they stop her from beating the poor teacher?

The newspaper report said the assault took place in front of everyone in the school. Not only that, the angry woman then threatened the school principal and the other teachers that they would face the same punishment if they ever gave her son low grades. Thanks to his mother's strong nerve and pugilistic skills, the boy will get good marks, and why not? If his mother can bloody the face of a teacher with her bracelets, the next time she might rip his flesh with a knife. What would have happened if her son had failed? I don't like to think of such a thing! She might have gone even further and threatened to cook the teacher's flesh and force them to eat it.

What the woman did is extremely serious and represents a sharp downturn in the cycle of school violence by those unhappy creatures who continue to assault teachers and administrators. A few months ago we read of shots being fired at a school principal and of the smashing of teachers' cars. There have been many other irresponsible acts that have not been dealt with as required in such cases.

A month ago, Al-Eqtisadiah newspaper, a sister publication of Arab News, published a front-page story of a father who, with his son, stormed into a class and assaulted a teacher, breaking his fingers. The incident was witnessed by 30 students but fortunately, both father and son were punished with 60 lashes.

In a similar incident, a number of high school students assaulted 10 of their teachers on their way home from school in Madinah. Using batons and sticks, the students beat up the teachers and smashed their cars. They were punished and given 40 lashes each. I think this kind of tough punishment should deter further acts of student violence. We hope that such punishments will be applied to all without exception.

Any slackness or failure to punish the women who entered the school and assaulted her son's teacher, regardless of what excuse she may give, will open the doors to more disgraceful conduct. One day we may see a girl's father breaking into his daughter's school and beating a teacher because he was not happy with his daughter's exam marks. He might even break the bones of any who try to drive him out!

Statistics on violence in schools indicate that there was a 13 percent increase over last year; the number of assaults reached 360. This figure includes 115 incidents of students attacking teachers, 179 acts of violence involving students against fellow students and 64 cases of teachers against students. This should make us raise the alarm and begin a genuine search for some reasons. Possibly a combination of bad upbringing, negligence, excessive coddling and pampering of children together with the absence of good role models at either home or school. If children see their parents verbally or physically attack principals and teachers even in private schools, what can we expect the children to do? Can we reasonably expect them to behave differently? This happens because the father believes that because he is paying for his children's education, he has the right to do as he like. He behaves badly in the absence of harsh punishment for such violations. It happens also because some teachers are too afraid to respond; in addition, pressures increase when schools are overcrowded as many are.

The media, especially television, has a major role to play here by helping correct wrong ideas and bad conduct. Children are quickly influenced by adults and tend to copy whatever adults do and how they behave. The real danger will come when carrying weapons becomes common among our students and when our schools and kindergartens begin to experience what is happening in some American and Western schools. Those were the kinds of horrible incidents that drove former US President Bill Clinton to ask film-makers to cut down on producing films featuring crime and violence. Unfortunately, we have not learned from their problems and mistakes. Instead we blindly follow in their footsteps.

Copyright © 2001 ArabNews

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