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Saudi Arabia

Chaos as students run free

Shredded books, torn papers and smashed cars were the scenes outside both government and private schools after students finished their final exams in Saudi Arabia.
The chaotic sights represent the schoolboys’ freedom from having to study and getting closer to the end of school year.
“My friends and I usually shred our school books into small pieces to celebrate the ending of the school year and finishing a certain subject,” said Mohammed Omar, a high school student at a private school in Jeddah. “This is a way to express the end of having to lock ourselves in our rooms to study and stress over school subjects,” he added.
Finals are the most difficult time of the year for school managements and cleaners according to a public school supervisor, Khalid Al-Jehani.
“We expect the chaos and we prepare for it around this time of the year because we have been dealing with it for a really long time now and we know this will never change,” he said. “We tried telling the students many times that the only people who suffer are the cleaners because they have to pick up the pieces of paper that are scattered around the school yard,” he added.
Some students look for sneaky ways to damage their teachers’ cars by letting the air out of the tires or even damaging the brakes.
“We pour sugar in the car’s tank because this would cause the teacher to change the whole engine of the car or even damage its whole operating system,” said Tariq Jihad, a high school student at a private school in Jeddah. “We sometimes throw eggs on the car so it would damage the paint and make a hole on it. Another way is to pour vinegar on the glass and wait for 10 minutes and then throw rocks on it and it would completely break,” he added.
Other students use violence to express their feelings by smashing their teachers’ cars. “When we get out of a very difficult exam where the teacher use very complicated questions, some of us get revenge by smashing the teacher’s car using baseball bats, stones or even bricks,” said Abdulrahman Ammar, a high school student at a public school in Jeddah. “We think of it as a way to let out the stress and anger we have for the teacher without him knowing who we are,” he added.
Schoolteachers park their car far away from school in fear of the potential damage caused by such angry students.
“I would rather have the students come to me and tell me what they are feeling and face me than having them breaking, scratching or denting my car,” said Sami Fathallah, math teacher at a private school. “I know I sometimes write complicated questions for my students, but this is only to test their math capability and make them think deeper to find the right answer,” he added.
“What I do is 100 percent legal and I have the right to choose the questions the way I want, but what they are doing is illegal and I will sue those who damage my car,” said Fathallah.

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