There is no excuse for the Hod Hasharon father’s violent assault at Shahar middle school. However, the incident provides an opportunity to reassess our educational system.
Petah Tikva school Photo: Courtesy
A man who attacked his eighth-grade son’s teacher at Hod Hasharon’s Shahar middle
school Friday morning claimed afterward that he suffered a temporary loss of
“It was a moment of weakness,” he argued,
Perhaps the father does indeed have a history of violence
in his family. Perhaps he was brought up in a culture that encourages solving
disputes with force. He might even suffer from excessive testosterone
Perhaps, too, the incident at Shahar middle school is symptomatic
of an unappreciated and underpaid educational profession that has failed to
attract the best and brightest. In a society that values big salaries, the
teaching profession’s demotion is even more pronounced and breeds a generation
of children and parents with little respect for the educator.
can excuse this despicable act.
The legal system’s role is to mete out
justice, while schools are built to educate; but the courts have a unique
opportunity to make a distinctively educational message by ensuring that this
pugnacious father is punished severely and used as an example.
might deter the next hotheaded parent who dares to trample teacher authority. At
the very least, a stiff sentence clarifies to all – teachers, students and
parents – that a red line was crossed.
The circumstances of the beating
According to news reports, the father became incensed when
he heard – apparently via cellphone – that a teacher at Shahar middle school had
dared to confiscate his son’s cellphone. It did not matter to the father that
his son had violated school rules by using the cellphone during a test. Nor was
the father consoled by the fact that the cellphone would be returned to his son
The irate man decided instead to take the matter into his own
hands. He rushed to the school, entered the room where the teacher was
conducting a lesson and in front of a class of students attacked the educator.
He dragged him out of the classroom and began hitting him in the
The man was arrested and a judge issued an order to extend the
arrest for two additional days. The teacher, shocked and humiliated, stayed home
It is difficult to imagine how he will be able to face his
The first order of business is to ensure that the father
is severely punished. He should serve a prison sentence, even if it is short. At
the time of sentencing, when the judge hands down the verdict and the
punishment, the violent father should be made to feel a comparable level of
shock and humiliation to that experienced by the teacher he attacked.
addition, school guards should exercise more control over access to school
premises. Parents should not be allowed to enter during the school day unless
they receive permission.
A concerted effort must be launched to eradicate
the use of cellphones, ipads, ipods, iphones, tablets etc. during school hours.
Education Ministry directives already prohibit the use of such distractions
during classes or tests.
Now these directives must be more closely
enforced. Depositing these devices in the morning upon arrival at school and
retrieving them at the end of the day is the best solution.
steps need to be taken to make the teaching profession more attractive. If
educators garner more respect, potentially dangerous parents will think twice
before daring to attack.
There is no excuse for the Hod Hasharon father’s
violent assault at Shahar middle school. However, the incident provides an
opportunity to reassess our educational system.
The rampant use of
cellphones and other distracting devices on school premises is a reflection of
the breakdown in teachers’ authority, with the beating representing a
particularly extreme example of a troubling phenomenon.