OPINION

The fruits of a bankrupt society

Frozen with horror, the Greek public is closely following the news as it unfolds about the alleged involvement of five schoolboys, aged 11 to 14, in the brutal murder of their 11-year-old classmate. It has taken this tragic event to make officials grasp the implications of non-action and indifference to bullying. This is a form of violence seen daily both within and outside schools in many different forms; the systematic beating of children by their peers, muggings for cell phones, pocket money or any other material goods, exclusion and acts of aggression against children seen as different, regardless of their academic qualities. Murder was bound to happen sooner or later, since as a society we all have failed to deal with the problem on a practical level. The circle of those who carry the moral blame is much larger than the small gang of boys who allegedly carried out the crime. The vulgarity and violence that comprises the content of the majority of television programs fuels violent and anti-social behavior among children. What can we expect when numbers show that the average teenager has seen 200,000 violent scenes and 40,000 murders on screen by the time he or she is 18? Parents also carry a large part of the blame. Instead of looking for ways to cooperate with teachers, they are quick to turn against them, even taking legal action against them. Therefore, teachers are reluctant to address children’s bad behavior. Furthermore, the decline of the family institution has given rise to a growing number of children with behavioral problems. Teachers are not free of blame either, as many of them fail to live up to their responsibilities. The overwhelming majority of teachers do not just fail to cultivate the principles and values of healthy social behavior in children, but they don’t even show enough interest to monitor their pupils during recess. On the state level, there is an absence of material and moral incentives or rewards for A-grade students. Unfortunately, the political system undermines social solidarity and contributes to the decline of moral values. We are, therefore, simply reaping the fruit of a morally bankrupt society.