President Saakashvili discusses youth violence with children at a Tbilisi school

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili today visited Tbilisi middle school No 51 and spoke to students, parents and teachers about the growing problem of violent crime among teenagers. Also in attendance was Education Minister Kakha Lomaia. 
"I want to tell you that this is an important battle, one which is just beginning. There are politicians these days who say they have graduated from the 'academy of the street'. What is the 'academy of the street'? It is a collection of the most idiotic and talentless people who call themselves 'street academicians'. In reality, these people have failed to achieve anything -they studied poorly and had no luck with sports. These people only know how to stand on dark street corners and if they see someone pass by they mock them, try to extort money from them and then brag about it. 

"I want all of us to understand that no-one can make a name for himself in this way - the only things that set people apart are talent and hard work. There are no other criteria. With us today is a woman whose child was attacked a few days ago in his school by classmates, who inflicted several deep knife wounds. I want to ask you - what do we have to do to stop these people? I am sure that many people will line up in order to publicly speak in defence of these criminals. 

"But what is in our interests - helping this scum or protecting our society, this woman and her child? The day before yesterday an 18-year-old boy was shot in public after leaving a birthday party. The criminals escaped and not one of the young people present gave a statement to the police. They were probably drinking toasts to Georgia and to friendship. 

"Not only the killers are despicable here, but also those who witnessed the event, who just a bit earlier were professing their love for each other, including for the boy who was killed, and then did not say a single word to the police about what happened. It is clear to me that these killers were always good for nothing, but the question is whether anything will come of those people who were in the area at the time and did not want to tell anything to the police because that would be 'ratting out' the criminals. 

"But their behaviour is hardly surprising if we look at politicians' statements on television that the government has legalized 'ratting people out'. The government will do everything in its power to ensure that there are no more murders and that the laws are enforced. Let us all understand this very well. Once I attended the court proceedings of a student at my school who was convicted of theft. I never forgot this and when I became justice minister I took groups of children, some of them from the school I myself had attended, to tour prisons so that they could see that there was nothing romantic about prison life. 

"I want all people to understand this from childhood. The people I remember from my childhood as either tough guys or onlookers are now either in prison, dead, or just failed to achieve anything in life. Unruliness and misbehaviour are unacceptable from any member of society. We must all protect each other and especially our children. This is very important," Saakashvili said. 

The gathering was attended by the mother Eriko Jincharadze, who sustained severe knife wounds in an incident at school No 62 a few days before. She thanked the president and education minister for their support and attention.

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of the President of Georgia

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