riotThe government loves commissions and reports. That’s why a committee of pot-bellied men in their 50s and 60s will sit down and try to decide why high schools riot.

However, the answer is so simple it hurts.

In Itiero Boys where they burnt down 7 dormitories over the weekend, the immediate cause was a premature end of their entertainment session. The boys wanted to watch the Euro but teachers had other ideas.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the wave or riots in Secondary Schools in the past week has been football related. There’s actually a pattern. Though there are school riots every year, the wave is usually bigger whenever there’s a major football event, either the Euro or the World Cup.

I happened to go through a school that was very prone to such riots and destruction. However, during my time there, we did not burn down a single structure. Just before the world cup, teachers sat down with the students and came up with an agreeable plan on how to go about the viewing. Students were allowed to watch certain big matches, even when they conflicted with study time. It was a reasonable plan and for 30 days we lived in harmony.

In most schools however, teachers are as rigid as rocks. If TV watching times ends at 7pm, that’s it. The result is what we’ve been seeing.

Of course there are many other causes of riots, varying from school to school, but most revolve around students’ freedoms. Things that can be negotiated and agreed upon. When the school administration makes the school feel like a prison, students will always try to escape.

On the issue of football, what do you think?