Have you ever heard of a 14 year old boy studying in Standard IX, most cruelly stabbing his defenseless lady teacher in the classroom itself, killing her instantly, which the whole class watched in stunned silence? This unprecedented cruelty happened on 9th February 2012. in St.Mary’s Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School. Armenian Street, Chennai.

The provocation? The victim Ms.Uma Maheswari, a Hindi Teacher

seems to have informed the parents of the student-turned-murderer, about his poor performance and defiant behaviour in the school. Enraged at this, and taking a clue from a Hindi movie, the student Ismail planned the murder in detail and executed it to perfection, with a knife he had hidden in his book. Everything about it is most shocking and unprecedented.

This incident has sent shock waves all over Tamil Nadu, and India among the teachers, school managements, educational authorities, students, parents and the public. Serious debates have started on the causes of such violence among the young children. Four areas have come in for sharp criticism in the wake of this gruesome murder.

 (1) The highly commercialised system of education, leaving very little space for the development of human values among young students, promoting a cut-throat competition aiming only at scoring marks.

(2) Irresponsible, inadvertent and indifferent parent community.

(3) The unchecked and uncensored media that encourage, instigate and glorify violence and

(4) the not so adequately and professionally trained teaching community to meet the challenges of the changing and the emerging trends of the times and society.

First and foremost, the murder of the teacher inside the class room is most unacceptable and condemnable. The teachers and the family deserve our deep sympathy. What about the student? Informations are pouring in the media about the background of the student. Let us remember, there are thousands of students among us with the same or similar background, but none of them ever attempted such a daring cruelty.

The immediate reaction of the student after the murder is puzzling and noteworthy. He didn’t try to runaway or to show any trait of remorse, but instead stayed back. This point indicates a serious lapse in understanding the cause by all concerned. Was the student mentally and totally himself daring the crime? Or was it a psychological abnormalcy dormant for  long in the student? In which case, the student also deserves sympathy, as he has the most of his life yet to be lived. In our haste to find answers and explanations, we should not miss some important clues of human concern.

In the wake of this shocking event have come two more instances of student rage.

(1) On 15-2-2012 a class 12 student at Government School in Virudhunagar threatened his teacher with the repeat of Chennai incident, after he was reprimanded!

(2) In yet another incident of student rage, three students  of a government school in Kanyakumari threatened the Headmistress with dire consequences if she chided them!

Now over to Prof. Dr. M.Thirunavukkarasu, former President, Indian Psychiatric Society, Zonal Representative of Zone 16, World Psychiatric Association and Prof. & Head of Dept. of Psychiatry, SRM Medical College  Hospital & Research Centre Kattankulathur, for  expert analysis and pragmatic prescriptions.

Prof. Dr. M.Thirunavukkarasu speaks:

We must be aware that children are also under tremendous psychological pressure. Children especially in teens are more vulnerable population for psychological distress. Scholastic performance plays a significant role in younger persons. Fear of failure in scholastic performance produces a lot of anxiety and tension in children.

Failure in academic performance is considered as a shame and guilt which shatters one’s self esteem. Parents consider failure in examinations as an insult, so condemn and disown their children for that. This expectation leads to failure, which leads to frustration and anger, which in turn leads to rage and aggression.

When the aggression is directed towards self leads to self destructive behaviours like drug abuse, alcoholism, attempted suicide and suicide. The same aggression is directed outwards, then they start questioning the authority and the system as a revolt, which lead to aggression, violence, assaults and sometimes homicide also.


Students, teachers and people involved in educational curriculum and educationists must be sensitized to bring awareness about these things.

Parents and society must be told about the importance and the significance in life. People must be made aware that examination and its outcome is only an event in life and not life itself. Many more other things also exist in the world and life apart from academic performance. The examinations and results are conducted to make the individual or the student know about himself and improve upon it, if  necessary.

Conduct and character are much more important than the academic achievements. Ethics and values must be taught to the younger generation.
Anger is natural and normal and it must lead to constructive outcome. So people  students, parents and teachers must be taught how to manage anger.

Teachers and parents involved in education must be trained to identify disturbed children in their midst. Each school should have provisions like counsellors who is acceptable and approachable to them. The counsellors must be updated in their knowledge periodically.

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