Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 7th 2016 Contents to deal with some of the children. They live it,
whatever happens in the society will spill over
into the schools."
Taylor-Ryan said in many communities life
was not respected. "These children need to
have a purpose for living so that they do not
want to die. They have to be told they can
make a valuable contribution to society. They
need a lesson in self-esteem telling them you
are important, you are a good contributor, you
She said: "Teachers in the school system
must have a positive attitude and ensure that
the children believe in themselves and the con-
tribution which they have to make."
Schools, she said, must also become "safe."
"If there are gangs in the community and
they spill over into the school, the principal,
security officers must be firm. If you catch
somebody doing or saying something, do some-
thing about it."
She recalled that the Inter-American Devel-
opment Bank had sponsored an Enrichment
Programme which engaged parents and students
in three "at-risk" communities along the East-
The ages of the children ranged from eight
to 19. She said: "We had a parenting course
for the parents and for the students, we did
maths, English, art and craft and drama. It also
included life skills. That was a way of reducing
violence because we engaged them so that
instead of doing something else they were
engaged in doing something very
Taylor-Ryan said the
teens were given the
opportunity to actu-
ally act out "what
actually occurs in
the community so
that it could be
dealt with in a
She said the pro-
stopped, but noted
that such programmes
Prior to entering the pro-
gramme the children were tested
and during the course of the programme "they
are tested again so that they could see the
That was very encouraging to them, she said,
because "they saw the improvement and they
Taylor-Ryan said: "We sourced really credible
teachers, those who have a passion for children,
like to teach and believe they could make a dif-
ference in their lives."
She is also advocating peer counselling telling
us "as teenagers get older they move from lis-
tening to their parents to listening to their
peers. Create school buddies. That way you
also protect the young ones."
Taylor-Ryan is also of the view that it may
be useful to channel the leadership of the so-
called troublemakers into something else, such
as "sports, creative things, let them help out
in the cafeteria. Make them feel useful and
worthwhile," she said.
Teachers need training to deal with
troubled children---Trevor Oliver
Former TTUTA president Trevor Oliver, who
served in the country s education system for
over 40 years, lamented that some of the teach-
ers who teach troubled children "are well qual-
ified, they have the degree, but they need train-
ing to help them deal with these children."
He shared the view that violence in schools
is a reflection of the wider society.
"Why we bawling when we see children
fighting? The criminals must know
they have a hand in what is going
on, fighting is now like a spec-
tator sport. It has got to stop."
Oliver said what was hap-
pening is not by guess.
"Every Monday morning
you seeing murder, rape,
killing, not acts of kindness.
Why we bawling? We have
to be concerned about the
murders, it is a toxic culture
and that is poisoning the whole
Oliver said the children live in
an environment where "they hear
mother cussing father, they hear and see
these things what is happening on the street
and they mirror it."
Children, he said, learn to curse first at home.
"They witness domestic violence, fathers
killing, chopping, fighting with mothers, so
why we bawling?"
He said: "Even when the child is removed
and rehabilitated the child going back to the
violent home. The society must feel some guilt.
We have to take some tough action, but we
have to change the toxic atmosphere that we
But there is a more fundamental problem
according to Oliver---absentee fathers.
"A large percentage of fathers are absent. A
lot of the children who are fighting have not
seen their fathers for months and so on. Some-
times he is not maintaining them. These same
fathers might be in the rum shop recommending
what should be done to children who misbe-
have. Lack of a father figure and bringing chil-
dren up is responsible for what is happening."
Catholic Education Board
---Suspension not the answer
Sharon Mangroo of the Catholic Education
Board of Management (CEBM) said in their
experience violence among children was not
limited to those who experience challenges in
their living conditions.
She said the CEBM continuously monitor
the 118 primary and six secondary schools
which fall under their purview and provide
support to their principals in order to prevent
and deal with the issue.
In addition, she said the CEBM support the
policy of the Ministry of Education on cell
phones, which is that "non-camera phones are
allowed, provided that they are turned off
during the school day or used only with the
permission and supervision of a teacher."
Mangroo said the key was getting to "the
root cause of the problem rather than reacting
to its symptoms."
She said "suspension is by itself not the
Catholic schools, she said, proactively "devel-
op the spiritual, intra-personal and interpersonal
intelligences of all students so that they work
toward building human communities."
In doing this, they are guided by the Bishops
Antilles Conference goal which states that "by
the completion of secondary school the graduate
of the Catholic school should have achieved
considerable knowledge of the many needs of
the local and wider communities and be pre-
pared for the day when he or she will take a
place in these communities as a competent,
concerned and responsible member."
She said an immediate action was to "ensure
adequate supervision of children at all times,
in schools as well as out."
This, she said, will require "a tremendous
amount of collaboration and cooperation among
school personnel as well as others such as par-
ents, caregivers, and the protective services
outside of the school." In addition, she said
there was also a "role for responsible citizens."
February 7, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
We have been failed by the Judiciary,
Police Service, Prison Service
From Page A22
Measures taken in 2015 to
reduce school violence by
then education minister Tim
Full complement of
security officers for all
Full complement of
student support services
which constitute guidance
counsellors, guidance officers
and school social workers
with educational, behavioural
and clinical psychologists
Over 280 remedial
teachers and close to 300
substitute teachers in
primary and secondary
Establishment of a Circle
of Hope where students have
a special session on a weekly
basis where they speak with
teachers on issues
Implementation of a
system where motivational
speakers visit schools to
have chats with children
Formation of a Parenting
Security officers have
two hand-held scanners in
Several schools have
been installed with CCTV
Source: Ministry of
About the consultations
Some of the major areas
for discussion at the
consultations will be the
Education Act, the Concordat,
and school maintenance, the
Early Childhood Care and
Education system, improving
education service delivery,
developing methods to
encourage a closer
involvement of parents in the
education of their children
and school indiscipline.
Maximising the use of locally
grown foods in the School
Feeding Programme will also
form part of the discussions.
Former education minister
Dr Tim Gopeesingh
Former TTUTA president
Sharon Mangroo of the
Catholic Education Board
of Management (CEBM)
said the CEBM support
the policy of the Ministry
of Education on cell
phones, which is that
"non-camera phones are
allowed, provided that
they are turned off
during the school day or
used only with the
supervision of a teacher."
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