Many schools in Ho Chi Minh City have arrived at different solutions for preventing violence among students after a number of fights have made headlines recently.
Their methods include consulting, strengthened supervision, and even teaching students martial arts as well as letting them listen to music to ease their mood.
Many teachers have said that school violence is getting increasingly serious and complicated, while a research released last month showed more than 50 percent of students in both cities and rural areas are involved in such violence.
Lots of public schools in the city have chosen surveillance cameras as a way to prevent violence.
The cameras were bought with the school’s budget or parents’ donations and have been checked every day.
Bach Dang Middle School in District 3 has recently installed six such cameras while An Nhon Middle School in Go Vap has 11 new ones.
Another school in Go Vap District, Phan Tay Ho Middle School, also ensures its students’ safety with the cameras.
Do Khac Quang, a teacher from the school, said more than 30 cameras installed on campus are responsible for 50-70 percent of the task of managing students.
“Whenever there is trouble, we can review everything to find out the reason,” Quang said. “Our students are also afraid of the cameras.”
“However, teachers have had to check on and supervise their students regularly, especially at rush hour or during break time to warn them when they’re overexcited,” Quang added.
Similarly, Vo Truong Toan Middle School in District 1 has had more than 40 cameras installed around the campus while other middle schools in District 5 like Tran Boi Co, Kim Dong, and Ba Dinh have tens of such cameras.
A supervisor tracks students via a camera system at a school in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Tran Le Luu Phuong, principal of Kim Dong Middle School, said her school has installed 32 cameras along the corridors and at hidden corners with four teachers in charge of the supervising work.
“Since the cameras were installed, the problems of student fights as well as thievery have been solved,” she said.
Besides increasing the number of surveillance cameras, city schools have hired more supervisors and body guards for work during rush hour.
Many schools even cooperate with local authorities to maintain order in front of their gates after classes.
In addition to strengthened supervision, many schools have focused on dealing with their students’ psychological problems.
“In the past, students got into scuffles because they had conflicts or lost their temper, but today, the cause of a fight could come from social networks, or love,” said Nguyen Huu Thanh, a teacher from Nguyen Du High School in District 10.
“Most importantly, students now prefer making ‘appointments’ for a ‘talk’ which could lead to a clash outside their school,” he added. “So besides supervising students, teachers must gain trust from them so that both sides can talk to solve any problem.”
“I believe that students’ anger can be eased if teachers offer appropriate advice.”
Phan Tay Ho Middle School in Go Vap District currently concentrates on controlling students’ temper.
During break time, worrying the hot weather will affect their students’ mood, a teacher regularly reminds them to drink more water and wash their faces when they feel tired and angry so as to ease their mood.
“When you accidentally hit your schoolmate while walking, just say ‘sorry’ and your friend will say ‘no problem’ in reply,” the school said in its guidelines for students to avoid fights.
More devotedly, it also plays music on the speakers to make the students feel comfortable.
Moreover, the school often organizes many workshops on psychological counseling for its students. It has also put together a team of around 100 volunteer students to secure order on campus during break time.
Tran Van Dai, vice principal of Thai Binh High School in Tan Binh District, advised that students should take part in social activities and engage in healthy playgrounds.
“The more they do so, the less they will be involved in violent troubles,” he said, adding students need to be taught how to behave, ignore violence, and protect themselves.
Different from other schools, Vo Truong Toan Middle School in District 1 chooses martial arts as a way to prevent violence.
The school has worked with military agencies to hold talks and training courses to teach students how to protect themselves in situations like being mugged or beaten by a group.