Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 16th 2014 Contents B9
November 16, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
The mournful cries emanating from all
corners of our beloved land, a direct result
of the rampant violence now being expe-
rienced, has become quite burdensome to
so many in our society.
Mulling over the increase in violence that
has straddled our country reminds me of
a quotation by the late Dr Martin Luther
King, hero and tireless advocate of non--
violence who said, "If you succumb to the
temptation of using violence in the struggle,
unborn generations will be the recipients
of a long and desolate night of bitterness
and your chief legacy to the future will be
an endless reign of meaningless chaos."
Two recent incidents that has brought
school violence into its most glaring reality
and has served as a powerful wake-up call
for all involved, were the actions of a ram-
paging schoolgirl gang in a Central secondary school
and the brutal shooting death of a teenage student
just outside the gate of a secondary school near Port-
The knee-jerk reaction of stakeholders in these
two latest incidents, and many other similar events
elicit words and phrases like, "counselling would be
provided to the traumatised children," "a thorough
investigation will be conducted into the matter," and
"greater security will be put in place to avert any
recurrence." Sadly, the public never hears any more
about those counselling sessions and how they have
helped the affected children, neither is the public
ever availed of the results of the investigations.
The blame gamers also ensure they have their say.
The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) always
announces that they had warned the authorities that
"it could happen." The teachers union always finds
a way to deflect any blame from their membership,
and so often the principals try to downplay potential
problems to preserve the image of the schools.
Never, however, is the public regaled about the
parenting aspect, which in most instances is the gen-
esis of the resultant flare ups among students and
between students and teachers. The only time parents
are highlighted is when they take protest action
against school authorities for infrastructural problems
affecting the schools. And even then, they bring their
children to participate in such actions demonstrating
that protest trumps dialogue anytime.
Do PTAs encourage workshops or lectures for par-
ents and guardians? Does the national PTA organ-
isation collaborate with the Ministry of Education
to hold sessions for teenage mothers or single mothers
responsible for bringing up a child or children? Can
the union do something similar that would benefit
parents, and by extension their children (their stu-
dents), which could serve to create a better school
and learning environment?Sure they can, but are
they prepared to do so?
The time has come to put collaboration before
confrontation, because the very future of our children
and our country depends on how well we drive the
society along positive lines, ensuring that values and
standards are brought back into the education system
and eventually the society.
Just a few days ago, there emerged a public con-
versation on whether or not sport should be made
mandatory in our schools. Another knee-jerk reaction!
Education should be all encompassing and while
children should be encouraged to participate in sport
as well as studies, forcing a child to do something
cannot have a good result.
We all know the problems affecting the nation s
children. We cannot be ostrich-like and bury our
heads in the sand and pretend that if given time, the
problems will disappear. There is an urgent need to
put the barriers aside and work towards building a
To understand the great need to properly look after
our children, I refer to a quote by the American busi-
ness philosopher Jim Rohn which states, "Learning
is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning
of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality.
Searching and learning is where the miracle process
• Vernon Khelawan is media relations officer of
Catholic Media Services Limited (Camsel), the official
communications arm of the Archdiocese of Port-of-
Spain. Its offices are located at 31 Independence
Square. Telephone: 623-7620.
We must work towards
building a better society
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