I was shocked when I read an article in Arab News about high school boys here in Saudi Arabia who pull "pranks" every year when school is let out for the summer. What really floored me was that the students who were interviewed apparently had no qualms about their full names being published in the newspaper in an article which confirms their participation in destructive and illegal activities. It was as if they felt like their disgusting behavior was normal and that they were proud of coming up with a variety of ways to damage or ruin teachers' vehicles or to destroy school textbooks.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
“My friends and I usually shred our school books into small pieces to celebrate the ending of the school year and finishing a certain subject. This is a way to express the end of having to lock ourselves in our rooms to study and stress over school subjects.”
Mohammed Omar, a high school student at a private school in Jeddah
“We pour sugar in the car’s tank because this would cause the teacher to change the whole engine of the car or even damage its whole operating system. We sometimes throw eggs on the car so it would damage the paint and make a hole on it. Another way is to pour vinegar on the glass and wait for 10 minutes and then throw rocks on it and it would completely break.”
Tariq Jihad, a high school student at a private school in Jeddah
And a quote from a public school supervisor had such a defeatist attitude that this behavior was apparently expected and impossible to stop, I just couldn't believe what I was reading:
“We expect the chaos and we prepare for it around this time of the year because we have been dealing with it for a really long time now and we know this will never change. We tried telling the students many times that the only people who suffer are the cleaners because they have to pick up the pieces of paper that are scattered around the school yard.”
Khalid Al-Jehani, public school supervisor
Like everywhere, teachers in Saudi Arabia are undervalued and overworked. Knowing that some teachers are also being disrespected and abused by their students makes matters much worse. What these juvenile delinquents are being allowed to do should not be expected or tolerated as normal behavior that cannot be prevented. The school system and the police force are enabling and condoning these thugs to continue to commit these crimes year after year without consequences. WTF?
I want to know what the parents of these hoodlums think about their sons' actions and confessions to these crimes. This is not typical "boys will be boys" behavior. Where is the discipline? Why aren't the parents of these children/thugs teaching them to respect teachers and their property?
I find this situation to be deeply disturbing. If Saudi Arabia doesn't wake up and smell the coffee, this new generation is headed for real trouble.
To read the Arab News article in its entirety, CLICK HERE.