Our 14-year-old nephew, Sharwin, was attacked at Santa Teresa H.S. on Guimaras Island the second last week of the school year. Our nephew, who along with his 16-year-old sister Shaina, lives with us while their mother works as a domestic helper in Kuwait, was playing a ball game on the school grounds while he waited for his sister to finish her last class of the day.
His mugger was a 17-year-old student in his third year of high school. Being 17 and in your third year of high school might not seem to be odd for those that have attended educational institutions back in the States. I was 17 in my third year back in Illinois many decades ago. But everyone graduated from high school at age 18 at that time.
But my niece and nephew are still under the former grading system which allows the majority of students to finish high school at age 16. The new K-12 program instituted by the Philippine Department of Education will add two more years of schooling for future students.
My nephew’s assailant should have graduated by now which to me, indicated that the pupil might be a problem student.
Sharwin’s adviser had tried to reach my wife on the Friday afternoon of the incident. The fact that someone was actually calling and not sending a text message indicated to me that the call had to be serious. I answered the phone since my asawa was taking a shower.
“Hello, who is this please?” I asked as I did not recognize the name that was displayed on my wife’s Samsung cell phone.
“This is Sharwin’s adviser at Santa Teresa. Is Melinda available?” she inquired.
“No, ma’am, she cannot come to the phone now. Is there a problem?” I wondered.
“Yes, sir, but is your wife available?” she persisted.
“No, she is in the CR taking a shower. What’s the problem?” I asked.
“I’ll call back, sir,” was my reply.
On the pump boat with Michelle and sister Shaina
Now if my nephew gets a call from the adviser at his high school that translates to trouble. And trouble it was.
Sharwin’s counselor sent my wife a series of text messages. It seems that my nephew had accidently hit a classmate in the mouth with a ball while playing a game. The student, who was not injured by the errant missile, grabbed our nephew by the throat and punched him in the eye.
It seems the student was upset because my nephew had not said “sorry” after accidently hitting the 17-year-old in the lip. But did the lack of an apology warrant a beat down? I think not.
Sharwin is one of the quietest and meekest young Filipinos you could meet. To my dismay he didn’t fight back after being punched. He’s been instructed by my wife and I to do so in the future.
But what really upset my asawa and I was the fact that the attacker was not punished in any way. He only had to sign a statement that he would pay for any medical bills if he attacked our nephew again in the future. What??!!!
No disciplinary action. No repercussions at all. When Sharwin arrived home that afternoon he had a huge welt underneath his right eye. And then the final blow. Sharwin’s adviser sent another text message: “Everything has been settled. Is there a problem now?”
I was furious! I asked my wife to text the teacher back with this message: “Yes, there IS a problem now! My husband will be at the high school Monday to speak to the principal to straighten this out.”
There was no reply.
Monday morning I head take off on a 12 peso trike ride to Santa Teresa High School.
(TO BE CONTINUED)