Costa Rica was shocked when a student of the Colegio Montebello, a private school in Heredia, shot the school principal Nancy Maria Chaverri in the head. She died after spending several days in critical condition.
While we have seen these horrors taking place in other countries, this is a first here in Costa Rica and it is hard to come to terms with such a violent act. The father of the student gave an interview on local television, an emotional and touching interview as his deep sorrow and desperation for the family of the deceased was only too obvious, as well as for the torments and psychological distress that caused his son to act in such a violent way.
In answer to this tragedy, the government is asking for stronger security measures in the schools. But is this really the way to deal with such a huge problem? As usual, scratching the surface instead of getting to the core of the problem is not the answer. President Chinchilla is talking about more ambitious programs to confront violence, blaming a lack of values in schools; the point should be “more ambitious programs to “prevent” violence”, don’t you think, Senora Presidenta? Teachers are often helpless in such situation and they rely exclusively on the Ministry of Education to deal with such heavy situations. Yet what is the ministry doing, what can it do, and what support does it get from higher ranks?
What happened in the mind of this 17 year old that caused him to react so frenziedly, so ferociously? What drives a teenager to kill? Is this the beginning of a new era? While the youth is detained for two months, others have too many questions and not enough answers. According to the Ministry, violence has seen a decreased in schools between 2003 and 2009. Yet other reports show that bullying in schools is on the increase. In fact, violence in Costa Rica is on the rise, generally speaking, and this violence is now spreading in the schools. Going to the source of the problem, understanding what is happening to this country: Why is it not as safe today to take a ride, or to go for a walk in Costa Rica. Why are more precautions needed, more alarms and security service necessary? Why such a big raise in crime, in anger with a feeling of fear and injustice in the air.
The funeral of Nancy Maria Chavarria took place in the Immaculate Church in Heredia, where family, friends, students and colleagues gathered with messages of peace and non violence, raising yet again the question of the presence of weapons in the home. Why was this youth in possession of his father’s gun, a gun that was supposedly hidden in a safe place in their house? Why is it that so many inquest and investigation take place only when someone dies? This is another sad example showing that guarding firearms in the home is just not safe and is never going to solve any thing. Violence brings in more violence, guns are generally bad news. There are, after all, designed to kill. Nobody knows how they will react in states of fear, anger, and jealousy with a gun in their hands.
The government of Costa Rica has a big job on its hands; let’s hope it is going to spend all the necessary time and money it needs to put a stop to this already alarming situation. The little Switzerland of Central America could well loose its reputation unless we soon see some positive changes. Somewhere along the line, something went wrong.
|Written by Mireille|
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Filed under: Reader Opinion & Stories on July 23rd, 2010