Suicide rates among students are on the ascendancy globally. Suicide is ranked as the second leading cause of death in educational institutions. The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that annually one million people die from suicide with one death every forty seconds with an estimate of 1100 college students dying every year. One of the leading causes of suicide in schools has been associated with harassment from teachers. What are teachers doing to spark and heighten the fire of suicide among students? What should teachers do to help their learners erase suicidal thoughts from their minds? This article offers perspectives and valuable insights into ways that teachers can help arrest the menace of suicide in educational institutions globally.
Many suicide cases reported in educational institutions globally point fingers at teachers. These have always been in the form of harassment. Teachers exert a greater influence on students, especially, on the decisions relating to life and death. Therefore, teachers must be mindful of their words and actions toward their learners. These students are mostly fragile and inexperience. They usually act based on their feelings and state of mind in various conditions.
Many teachers have been engaging in verbal abuse on their often less performing students. These academically dull students often receive unfavorable verbal attacks from teachers that only discourage them. It makes them feel hopeless and worthless, even desiring to end it all by taking a suicide decision. These teachers usually spank them by making angry remarks as an outward sign of their displeasure of the academic performance. Such disparaging comments include ‘You are worthless!’ ‘You should not have been in school!’, ‘Your mates will make it in life and you will suffer the brunt of your weak academic performance!’ Some instructors deliberately post the performances of the weak students on students’ notice boards just for their colleagues to mock at them. These comments and actions often terrify many of these students who do not want to face the shame as a result of their academic failings, usually commit suicide.
Moreover, very harsh punishments given to truant and undisciplined students are also a major cause of suicide. Granted, some students will always engage in wrongdoing. Therefore, to maintain discipline, such students may receive some punishment to serve as a deterrent from engaging in that act again and/or other students treading the same path. However, this should be done in a humane fashion. Even punishments can be given to further develop the academic abilities of the truant students. Such punishment includes writing a passage three or four times to improve their writing skills. Punishment should be done with the aim of correcting the negative behavior exhibited by the student.
Furthermore, some educators and teachers sack students because they were late from school or for not paying for academic user fees. This is very wrong. Some students fear going to their parents who may punish them severely. Therefore, the teachers must not in any way sack any student because of these reasons, as they have been one of the main causes of suicide.
Also, some educational institutions fail to set up stringent strategies in punishing or expelling students who bully their colleagues in schools. Bullying of students has been one of the chief causes of suicide. Educational institutions must find effective means of identifying students who bully their colleagues. Transparent offices where students who are bullied can report their bullying cases must be available in all educational institutions.
Again, it’s very unfortunate and disgusting that some teachers sexually harass their students. Some of these students who are objects of the sexual harassment are emotionally traumatized and usually end their lives through suicide. Teachers must set good examples as morally upright persons whose decent lives are worth imitating. Unscrupulous teachers who engage in sexual harassment must be severely punished and prosecuted.
The teaching profession is very honorable and persons who enroll in it must demonstrate great dexterity that it requires. Teachers must be charismatic and use their words and actions to encourage, motivate and heighten the academic abilities as well as students’ personal development. This would prevent and erase suicidal thoughts from the minds of students such that suicide would be a forgotten phenomenon in the various educational institutions globally.