Typically, when we were schoolchildren and we were breaking the rules, it was customary to receive some sort of punishment from our teachers or parents. A myriad of punishments involved detention, no allowance, or possibly the occasional beating (depending when and where you grew up). Even if we feel its going too far, we tend to believe most punishments are for the benefit of the child’s physical and mental development.
Not in this case.
In this bizarre string of events, a group if eight-year old schoolboys were caught with cigarettes and punished…by being forced to chain smoke more cigarettes.
During a recess break, the group of boys were caught lighting up some cigarettes at a local primary school in Sukabumi, Indonesia, and promptly sent the headmaster’s office.
As they nervously waited for their headmaster’s response, the eleven boys likely were expecting a good scolding, detention penalties, and letters home to mum and dad.
Instead, Headmaster Tati Maelati made them form a line and handed each of them a bunch of cigarettes. He ordered that the kids smoke them one after another, saying that it would act as a “deterrent” against them smoking later in life.
The strange incident was caught on film by another teacher as the second-grade students happily huffed and puffed away. When asked about the peculiar choice of chastisement, he said:
“This has been a big topic of conversation among the parents. I hope that he can find some other kind of punishment for children caught smoking.”
From the point of view of, any other punishment would have been more appropriate. Smoking is inherently addictive and unlike other debilitating habits, usually isn’t discouraged by excessive initial use. The children’s cheerful reaction seems to prove this.
Understandably, the parents didn’t approve of the principal’s choice of punishment, seeing it more as an encouragement of a bad habit rather than a deterrent. In addition, numerous child protection agencies also contacted the Headmaster, demanding an explanation.
Headmaster Maelati reiterated that he encouraged the children to smoke more cigarettes as a punishment and plans to meet with parents and state officials to discuss the incident.
“I did this punishment as a deterrent. I hoped the boys would feel sick and recognize how unhealthy smoking is for them.”
“There is a meeting this afternoon between myself, teachers and parents to talk about the issue and the punishment.”
The kids had been caught smoking at school on Saturday, November 3rd. In Indonesia, schools are open Monday through Saturday, with Sunday being the only day off.