In the last few days, the media have reported widely on the incident of teenage girls disrupting the police from their regular and routine schedules to chase shadows that have been fashioned in the minds of junior high school girls for fun.
As we or the police would later find out, it was a hoax – a prank that was intended to fool the police and, for that matter, a whole state security apparatus and institution.
It is therefore normal for police to have a right to be angry in this unfolding saga of JHS girls claiming that they had been kidnapped when, in fact, they had planned to be with their boyfriends.
Coming against the background of our recent history of kidnappings as recorded particularly in the Takoradi municipality a couple of years ago, and the controversy it raised, the story about these JSS girls playing these pranks not only show how irresponsible they are, but also exposes the homes and settings where they come from as irresponsible.
With the tragedy of the Takoradi ‘missing girls’ still fresh in our minds, and the affected families grieving because of the intrigues underlying that tragedy, the delinquent kids could have perpetrated that silly act on their silly boyfriends, and not the police – if they truly meant to have fun.
Youth engaging in one form of activity or the other to attract attention, of course, is a normal generational ritual. We see that during sports festivals and ‘What Do You Know’ competitions, or excursions and carnivals.
We may even have school strikes at the worst, if that helps address nagging issues that the authorities neglect to act on to encourage academic work and congenial atmosphere for learning.
However, when such pranks shift from being pranks to the pits of criminality, society should be worried. So, we should be worried when they engage in pool parties and drink and smoke or dance lewd and sell immorality to the world via social media.
Irresponsible behaviour on the part of JSS teenage girls in certain parts of the country has already been a source of worry to most decent Ghanaians, particularly the kind of attitude and games they play when they are about to write their final exams.
Unfortunately, when they play those crazy pranks, they do not hide it, but spread it on the social media. So, it has become fashionable now dancing a certain way and posting it out, as if trading obscenity on social media pays in terms of seeking opportunities in life and improving one’s livelihood.
Training of kids has become a challenge today, with parents shifting the burden of making kids responsible to the teacher who already has a major responsibility educating our children. And, particularly, in an age where the cane has been relaxed and PTAs and Old Boys and Old Girls Associations have become powerful, teachers tend to fear that a little application of the rod may raise hairs.
Therefore, when kids with ‘ungovernable temperaments’ seize power in classes, all the teacher may do is pray that that kid does not extend his ‘nonsense’ personally to him.
Every responsible parent, being aware of the current challenges in raising children, has a moral duty, therefore, to take charge of the situation and ensure that his kids do not go astray.
Since we can now put names to faces, because the kids have been exposed, all we need to do is discipline them to serve as a deterrence to others. We may not lash them or get them walk on their knees for 30 minutes, but we can suspend them from classes for a week or two and compel them to sign undertakings that would haunt them into the future.
They and their parents must know that moving the police out of his or her environment with logistics and wrongly processed information is a serious offence that attracts equally costly deterrence.