Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 21st 2016 Contents A7
Thursday, April 21, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Primary school student
Mishael Henry is calling for the
immediate implementation of
boot camps to deal with the esca-
lating problem of bullying and
violence in schools.
Henry, 11, a student of the
Laventille Government Primary
School, was one of three boys who
bravely spoke about this issue
plaguing schools as he addressed
yesterday s Joint Select Committee
meeting in Parliament.
"Send them to boot camp; real
boot camp, not any petty boot
camp, serious, serious boot camp.
"I know parents who will object
to you hitting their children, but
you can also show them photos of
what happens to people who go
down that road to be a bully,"
The issue of boot camps was
previously raised by National Secu-
rity Minister Edmund Dillon and
other stakeholders as a manner to
deal with the escalating issue of
Yesterday, Henry said victims
of school bullying are so deeply
physically and mentally trauma-
tised that when they become adults
thoughts of suicide or wanting to
take matters into their own hands
would cross their minds.
"The bully attacks the children
physically and mentally. They
would beat them up and tell them
things, make them to think bad of
themselves. These things will
remain in their minds...they might
want to commit suicide or even
murder," Henry said.
He said what was also needed
was a strong police and army pres-
ence in troubled schools so that
when bullies see a "big, strong
person," they would be afraid to
hurt other children.
"The bully would feel how the
prey feels. You have to think out
of the box; bring in the police and
army into the school, so the bully
will feel what the prey feels,"
Henry, who wants to go to Queen s
Royal College, said.
He said while the public is often
told to call the police or social serv-
ices to deal with bullying, these
interventions do not always work.
"They tell you when children
are being bullied that you should
call police or Child Services or
Crime Stoppers, but coming to
think of it that is not really work-
"Over the years that has been
in place nothing has stopped. The
bullying is still taking place and it
has spread. It is like smoking weed,
it is something that you can t help
it anymore; it is just there. The
bullying spreads," he said.
"If I am a child who is being
bullied and afraid to tell my par-
ents, the bully will say he is not
telling his parents---let s continue
and go on to another child and it
keeps spreading until the discipline
Yesterday s sitting marked the
first time primary and secondary
school students had addressed the
Parliament, and featured troubling
Student from trouble school tells JSC
accounts of bullying, which takes place
from as young as Standard One.
The committee, headed by Inde-
pendent Senator Dr Dhanayshar
Mahabir, also heard that Carenage
Boys Government Primary, in partic-
ular, had a high level of indiscipline
mainly attributed to poor parenting,
which included parents showing little
or no interest in school activities or
Principal Lance Mottley said what
was also troubling was the issue of chil-
dren "disrespecting" other children s
parents via the hurling of insults. It
was also apparent, he said, that some
pupils of that school had no fear of the
"The children see the police officers
as one of us...the teachers, and they
tell the police whatever they want, so
much so that some of the children have
been put out from the school s police
youth club," Mottley said.
He said suspension seemed to add
to the problem, as suspended students
often had nowhere to go as parents
Saying that an indisciplined child
was also a non-performer, Mottley rec-
ommended that suspension centres be
made available. Guidance officers, he
added, only visited the school only once
or twice a term.
Mahabir, who expressed surprise by
this, said this was not what the com-
mittee was told when members of the
Education Ministry previously appeared
Carel Lewis, principal of Laventille
Boys Government Primary, echoed
Mottley s sentiments that violence was
a real concern, but noted it was complex
He said there were a number of
strategies his school had implemented,
including being involved in sports and
police youth camps which resulted in
Even grandparents, the committee
heard, had no time to visit the school
as they were busy seeking employment.
"We have children having children,
so grandparents now have no time with
what was happening at school," one
Public Utilities Minister Ancil Antoine
said using retired soldiers in troubled
schools should be explored.
Bring boot camp for bullies
Chairman of the fifth meeting of the Joint Select Committee on Social Services and Public Administration, Dr
Dhanayshar Mahabir, and MP for Cumuto/Manzanilla, Christine Newallo-Hosein, greet students after yesterday's
meeting. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
High suspension rate at
Barataria South Secondary
In a population of 830 to 850
students, an average of 100
students are suspended monthly
for indiscipline at the Barataria
This took place over the last
three years, said principal Sharlene
Hicks-Raeburn, who described the
school as very high risk.
"Sometimes it seems very
difficult to pin the student
population down as we have a
number of dropout students,"
Romeeda Ali, acting principal of
the Chaguanas South Secondary
School, who also said her school
was high risk, said that was
particularly so as the school was
located in a troubled community.
Gary Ribeiro, principal of
Presentation College, Chaguanas,
meanwhile said over the last six
years the school had suspended
nine students. However, he
admitted there was some bullying
taking place in the school and also
expressed concern over the
apparent rise in cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying taxing, worrying
The majority of issues faced by
secondary school students are verbal
bullying which resulted in fights and
using social media to degrade a
student's character by spreading
Danielle Seunarine, a Form Six
student of Naparima Girls' High
School, said yesterday that while
physical confrontation was almost
non-existent in that school, cyber
bullying was prevalent among the
"Our battlefield has moved from
the actual school ground to the
cyber world where it is the main
form of violence that is ongoing, so
instances are 'flaming', online
degradation of one's character.
"In particular among the lower
students, Forms One to Three, there
is prominent name-calling and
heckling," Seunarine added.
McKiyah Joseph, of the Russel
Latapy High School, said so bold
were the bullies, they would push
their hands into the pockets of other
students to collect their "taxes" or
Joseph said if a particular student
had no money, bullies would search
bookbags to steal items, including
pencils and calculators.
Taxing was also a worrying issue
at the Chaguanas South Secondary
School and at Presentation College.
Some older students would often
seek out younger and more
vulnerable students for tax money to
buy items at the cafeteria or money
to travel home, Tarick Boodoo, of
Presentation College, said.
Parents being allowed time off
from their jobs to attend school
meetings still posed a challenge, the
On the effectiveness of
suspensions, students agreed that
was more seen as a "mini vacation"
and an opportunity to earn "stripes"
rather than a form of punishment.
They said upon returning to school
some of the suspended students
also sought to take revenge upon
the students who had complained
about them, resulting in not all
incidents being reported due to fear.
Links Archive April 20th 2016 April 22nd 2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page