On the day that school resumed after six weeks’ summer holiday, this graffiti (and more) appeared on the skateboard ramp in our local park. We take daily walks in this lovely park of winding pathways surrounded by grassy parkland and towering gum trees. There are several tennis courts at one end of the park as well as the popular skateboard area.
Sometime last year the skate ramps were smartened up with a new coat of paint and a general tidying up.
After school hours - and at weekends and holiday times - the ramps simply buzz with kids of all ages riding their zippy little scooters, their skateboards and BMX bikes. It’s great to see such activity, where kids are active, outside in the fresh air, not hunched over computer screens. There is never an overweight kid to be seen and laughter abounds.
Strange that someone decided to desecrate the ramps on the day that most kids were back in the classroom.
But is it strange?
Perhaps some disenfranchised teenage kids who joyously left school at the end of last year, assuming life without school work would be bliss, have discovered that once there is no school, no purpose, few mates and nothing to do, life sucks.
So, what to do but vent their anger and frustration by painting stupid slogans on the place that symbolises fun and companionship.
I may be wrong but you can see some of these aimless teenage kids roaming the streets and hanging about the shopping malls. They are too disillusioned and unmotivated to have stayed at school and too young and inexperienced to secure employment. There is not much for these kids to do except get into some sort of destructive mischief. Painting messages on a skateboard ramp is probably a very minor misdemeanour. Bur what comes next, when boredom and dissatisfaction with life increases as days go by?
There has to be sympathy for these kids.
Where are the family role models for them? What else could the school have done to keep them gainfully occupied? And I certainly don’t blame the schools. I bet the teachers were glad to be rid of most of these early school leavers.
But, when you see (on the nightly tv news), a vision of a suspect in some sort of crime or serious driving offence, can you not see the face of the disillusioned youth of earlier – only grown a bit older?
They have that look about them.
I apologise for sounding elitist – I definitely don’t feel that way. What I do feel is pity for the kids who start off on the wrong feet (so to speak); the kids who have no proper guidance, the kids who play up at school and who can’t wait to leave.
The kids who find that not going to school is not what it is cracked up to be and yet cannot admit it and so vent their bitterness by spraying obscenities on skate park walls.
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.