Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 17th 2015 Contents The vexing issue of school violence and specifically
bullying continues in our nation's schools with impunity.
There's no magic behind well-behaved children. They
are being raised by parents who are supportive, caring
and fair. These parents would set boundaries and carry
through on discipline if and when needed.
On the flip side we have parents who have no clue
what it takes to be an effective parent. They are the
ones who are normally invisible when parent-teacher
conferences are initiated by schools. Ask any teacher in
any school what they consider to be the most impor-
tant factor in solving school violence and that one spe-
cial answer would be "parenting."
Rest assured it is highly improbable that any teacher
would not try his or her best to speak with and correct
students' deviant behaviours. If parents are not rein-
forcing the high standards set in schools it would
amount to nothing more than a house of cards being
built with the gentlest of breezes capable of toppling it
Perhaps the time has come for parents to be held ac-
countable for their children's behaviour. The bullies,
fighters and the disrespectful ones are not only affect-
ing their own education but are making it very difficult
for other well-intentioned students to acquire theirs.
Right now more than lip service should be given to the
term "zero tolerance." I offer the following.
Bullying, fighting or threatening students and teach-
ers should attract these penalties:
• first offence documented and student spoken to in
the presence of parent. Suspension until parent attends
• second offence, immediate suspension and mone-
tary fine to be paid by parent before re-entry into
• third offence, fine, suspension and mandatory par-
enting classes and counselling for both parent and child
before re-entry into school; and
• fourth offence, expulsion and police report.
The powers that be should make every effort to sup-
port principals without compromise.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, February 17, 2015
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A carnival float depicts a writing "terror competition" underneath skeletons with turbans and the writings IS and Al-Qaida during the traditional Rose Monday carnival parade in Duesseldorf,
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carnival season on Rose Monday. AP PHOTO
Poor parenting responsible for bullying Don't move, Mr West
It goes without saying that Mr
Ramesh Persad-Maharaj is free to call
on David West to resign. But it would
be helpful to his readers if his reasonings
We must not accept that a private law
suit instituted by Mr Anand Ramlogan while
he occupied the office of attorney general
was and is anything but a private law suit,
even if the defendant happens to occupy
the office of opposition leader.
And we must not accept that if a citizen,
whatever office he may hold, becomes a
witness for either party, he is, by so doing,
"clearly taking a political side and making a
strong personal political statement publicly."
Indeed, if there is vital evidence that such a
citizen can give on behalf of either side, he
has a civic duty to do so, in furtherance of
the general good.
If such a citizen is offered a job, especially
one plainly and deliberately designed to be
apolitical, and for which he is otherwise
qualified, must he feel disqualified or tainted
by having carried out that civic duty? Must
he think it a matter of relevance that he had
accepted such a duty?
Must he report that to politicians---and
even to those who have actual or construc-
tive knowledge of it? Must he take action
likely to perpetuate sycophancy and in that
way undermines the general good? Must he
eat ah food? And is he to be crucified if he
does not do so?
Mr West is, indeed, at least as re-
spectable an attorney as Mr Persad-Ma-
haraj, but he, I do not believe, would accept
"such a high-profile position of PCA director,
to serve under a government to which he
was clearly diametrically opposed."
Indeed, I would expect he would accept
that position in the full knowledge that part
of his duty would be to protect it, if neces-
sary, against attempts at encroachment by
any and every government whatsoever.
And where, pray, is the evidence that
David West is clearly diametrically opposed
to the Government? Not, you understand, to
any particular programme or policy of the
Government, but to the Government. That
is a huge bite: it must mean that he is a
guerrilla, no less.
There clearly are "educated" people who
should be helping to guide us along the road
to progress but who, through wilful igno-
rance or not, choose rather to muddy that
road and lead some of us to slip and fall.
I do not know Mr West, but I plead with
him to refuse to be a party to the further
manipulation of our institutions and, at all
cost, to stay in the job for the sake of coun-
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