THE natural reaction of most people to the brutal beating inflicted on Mr Gavin Myers, the dean of discipline at Aabuthnott Gallimore High School in St Ann, would be for the authorities to severely punish the five boys involved.
Generally speaking, we could not argue with that view, as the law sets out clearly the sanctions for that kind of assault. Also, given that it appears — from what we have already read — that the assault on Mr Myers was unprovoked, the crime is even more dastardly and befitting punishment.
Indeed, no rational human being can fathom why the five grade 11 boys would beat and stab Mr Myers, leaving him hospitalised with a broken leg, simply because he tried to get them off the school compound during a Girls' Day function.
However, that assault and subsequent comments by Mr Myers published in yesterday's Observer have brought to the fore two significant issues that should occupy our thoughts.
The first speaks to the kind of society in which these boys are growing up and which would influence them to resort to the type of violence they unleashed on Mr Myers.
Too many of our young people — particularly boys — are being raised to believe that it's 'cool' to be bad.
The celebration of 'gangsta' culture by many, including entertainers and some of us in the media, has done great damage to the minds of our youth.
Add to that the absence of proper parenting, as well as the very coarse nature of the society in which we live, and we get dysfunctional young people who basically know no better than to express their anger or disappointment in violent, physical ways.
It is unfortunate that young people are still growing up in this way, despite the sterling efforts of many persons and organisations to instil in them a culture of tolerance and non-violence.
We don't, however, believe that it is too late to rescue such youngsters, and the pacifist stance of Mr Myers, as reported in yesterday's edition, is encouraging.
Despite the fact that Mr Myers' wounds are still raw, he told us that he was disheartened that the incident would negatively affect the boys’ future.
“This is not something you want to happen to them,” he said. “I'm wishing that some way they can find redemption, because it never had to be like this.
“I hope this will come as a lesson for others who are wayward, that they are so moved that they don't have to go down the same road,” Mr Myers added.
Surely, Mr Myers stands out as a shining example of how we should relate to each other as human beings.
That he can be so forgiving of his attackers speaks to his principles and his very own appreciation for the value of human life.
The Ministry of Education, as well as the organisations that are dedicated to moulding our youngsters into responsible citizens, would do well to include Mr Myers as a motivational speaker in their programmes. They could start by having him address the five wayward boys who so viciously assaulted him. It may just save them from a short and useless life.