Violence against teachers

Lazar Uzelac, Serbia

The topic of this article is the violence of high school students in the Serbian town of Trstenik, who slipped their teacher’s chair so that she fell, and while doing so they filmed it all and posted the video on the Internet.

We remember and retell pranks from school, and in them there is always that “crumb of childhood”, naivety and clumsiness of youth. Famous writers Branislav Nušić, Branko Ćopić, Gradimir Stojković, and many others wrote about youthful mischiefs. But, in the case of the professor from Trstenik, it is not about the naive mischief of her students, but about the intention to completely humiliate this professor, to, in the literal sense, make her fall on the floor and to immediately post video of this heinous act on social networks in order to “gain importance, popularity and applause from the same people who enjoy violence, humiliation, and other people’s misfortune”!

Photo by Melanie Wasser on Unsplas

Who humiliated whom in this unpleasant event? Students or the professor? Maybe the child’s parents? State institutions or professors? Who is the main culprit and where is the future of this country going? Who will Serbia be left with if we all go over this event lightly and if we don’t ask ourselves to what extent has unpunished violence escalated? We will all be humiliated if we close our eyes to this case, and many similar ones!

Educators have been slipping out of that chair for a long time, ever since their financial position is miserable, ever since they barely make ends meet. Does anyone in Serbia wonder how it is possible that for the class teacher, who has more work to do all month long and which is also more nerve-wracking than teaching itself – has an allowance of 2,700 dinars on his salary, which is less than the daily wage that I, as a student, earn through the Youth Cooperative?

The chair has been moved long since it is normal to spit on educators with the words: “What do they get paid for anyway?” “They don’t do anything!” “They’re forcing us to study something that we will never need.” “Why do we have to buy books? ” “School is a waste of time, a prison, an extended arm of a system that breaks the spine of a young man.”

Educators have been losing ground under their feet since the educational program is unrecognizable in the media, and its unpopular attempts are relegated to terms that no one follows. The media ignores educators by writing on the front page that “the student pathosed the teacher” (Srpski Telegraf front page from 11/17/2022) or that “the professor was not injured during this ‘joke’” ( Did she just have to bleed or break something to be hurt? Haven’t you heard of trauma, mental pain that hurts more than physical pain?

The word “joke” is a classic relativization, to avoid calling a spade a spade. It is about violence against the teacher, but also against all our teachers, professors, our “other parents”! And while the uninformed, the arrogant and the reckless inform us – they are slipping away from the value ground of the whole society.

The professor’s chair was slipped away by a bunch of ill-mannered people. A procedure that involves starting disciplinary proceedings against those “students”, which are not children anymore (they’re on the threshold of adulthood) being automatically excluded from school, and the parents being punished with a draconian fine and making it headline news for 3 days.

We would see who would come up with such a prank next and how their parents would find time to talk to their children about desirable and undesirable behavior at school, if such offenses were punished with a draconian punch in the pocket! Many parents would bring more attention to their children’s behaviour if they had to pay heavily for failings in the education of their children!

Many “children” would feel “pathetic” if they knew that if they misbehaved, they would immediately “fly” out of school!

While you are listening to this sermon of mine, many were looking at the floor. I understand you, but we all have to raise our heads and firmly say: STOP the violence!