The alleged humiliation of a student by a teacher in Dubai has become fodder for debate. While some are condemning the incident, others have condoned it by dismissing it altogether. In any event, such scenarios present students, parents and teachers with some uncomfortable questions. Do teachers have the right to discipline their wards and if so, then how? Are students merely reflecting their upbringing at home — in which case the finger generally points towards the parents — when they misbehave in school? Where does the allocation of responsibility lie?

The answer lies in collective responsibility — both of the institution and the guardians. The moral education of a child is not the sole responsibility of an institution: families have an equally important role to play. Schools fine tune these values. Parents are the constant and visible models of behaviour who are later associated with their child's character development. Right or wrong conduct is determined by society. There are times when parents resort to posturing, by becoming emotional, rather than arguing with informed opinion. The onus also lies on teachers to be important figureheads as students see them as role models. Lip-service towards upholding values and discipline will not work in this day and age. The solution lies in being a positive example of moral behaviour.