Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 27th 2014 Contents The turtle nesting season has
recently begun and various
local environmental groups are, at
present, striving to prepare for our
reptilian guests by ridding our
beaches of all rubbish and other
impediments. Not only that, they
want to educate, re-educate and
remind those who wish to visit our
leathery friends in their natural
habitats on how to be gracious
There s one problem that keeps
cropping up time and time again
and there are numerous Facebook
and Twitter photos that prove it.
(Sadly those are just the pictures
that make it onto the Internet). You
see, while some of us may see a
beautiful creature in all its splen-
dour and feel a sense of honour as
it comes to our shores, others see a
magical riding animal awaiting
Why some people feel the need to
haul themselves on the backs of
majestic (endangered as well I might
add) creatures, I will never know.
A turtle is not, by the furthest
stretch of the imagination, a beast
of burden. Nor are they some kind
of mechanical rodeo bull (or horse)
where the winner is he who holds
on the longest. Flesh and blood,
nerve endings and pain receptors,
perhaps even feelings and emotions,
are all under that shell.
Perhaps my being an animal
enthusiast has skewed my opinion
somewhat but the excitement of
wanting to straddle a giant, preg-
nant turtle, labouring through the
sand (almost painfully it seems) is
lost on me.
Maybe the Emperor Valley Zoo
should develop a petting zoo within
the zoo programme to fulfil whatev-
er emptiness people may feel inside
that causes them to molest such
amazing wild animals.
One thing s for sure, though, not
only is it illegal to wound, kill or
capture but to molest by any
method as well (under the Conser-
vation of the Wildlife Act). Imagine
someone or something standing,
sitting or riding you while you are
Thursday, March 27, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
It's Your Write
PM did right by
If Dr Glenn Ramadharsingh was travelling with any
other airline in the world he would have been taken off
the flight and arrested for being disruptive and refusing
to obey the safety instructions.
It's a shame other members of the party travelling
with him never tried to calm him down. He should have
been persuaded to obey the flight attendant who was
simply doing her job to ensure the international safety
standards were in place before take-off.
If, as alleged, threatening Ms Laidlow with the loss of
her job was not bad enough, it certainly was not nice to
tell anyone their days are numbered.
We all have a limited time to live on this earth, but if
our lives have been in the service to others, if we take
time to be humble and kind to others, we would be fulfill-
ing the purpose for which we were created.
Instead of keeping a low profile Dr Ramadharsingh
went on Crime Watch and tried to defend himself in an
attempt at damage control.
What does it matter if Ms Laidlow is from St Vincent
or Grenada or Ukraine? The safety rules are for all to
obey, even if you are a doctor or a gardener.
The prime minister has done the right thing in sending
Dr Ramadharsingh on his way.
Aggressive law and order
approaches not the way
Using police officers to enforce discipline in our nation's
schools is a terrible idea. Police officers are trained to deal
with conflict using skills that may not translate very well
when interacting with adolescents who may be lacking in
social and emotional competency. Further, there is no em-
pirical data to indicate that this approach will lead to safer
and more successful schools in the long run.
I am fearful that this recommendation to place police
officers in our schools is yet another hyperbolic response
to recent incidents that have more to do with the com-
plex emotional and behavioural needs of adolescents
than it has to do with the perceived breakdown of law
and order in our society.
Let's take things in perspective. No one can seriously
argue that these recent incidents are not troubling. But
the children (yes, these are children) involved are equally
troubled and perhaps struggling with poor social and
self-management skills, not so atypical of young adults.
Hence, I am wary of our nation's over-reliance on ag-
gressive law and order approaches that may have the
unintended effect of planting hostility and distrust in our
school children and their parents who entrust their wel-
fare to school officials.
Further, the impact of law enforcement in the schools
is likely to be disproportionately felt where students oc-
cupy the lower socio-economic strata of society. They are
the children of the voiceless and marginalised. They rep-
resent a problem that we too hastily and anxiously
throw paternalistic policies at without seeking their con-
sultation. They deserve our love, support and inclusion
not a cleared pathway to the criminal justice system.
Perhaps there are important lessons to be learned
from the US, where police presence in urban school dis-
tricts has not worked particularly well. In one article pub-
lished in The New York Times earlier this year, it was
reported that data collected by the US Education Depart-
ment shows that the use of law enforcement as a
means to discipline students has disproportionately in-
creased the number of arrests and expulsions of minor-
ity students for minor infractions.
This is a trend that has alarmed civil rights groups and
has in large part fuelled the "school-to-prison pipeline."
This disturbing trend led the US attorney general to issue
guidelines, in the form of a 35-page document, that rec-
ommend that school administrators use law enforce-
ment only as a last resort when disciplining students.
The US Department of Education guidelines outline
approaches that focus on counseling for students, train-
ing and coaching for school personnel and safety officers,
and teaching the development of social and emotional
skills that will assist students in redirecting their energy,
avoid conflict and re-focus on learning.
Khadine De Paiva,
Alternative resolution dispute
programmes can work
I have been advocating for some time now that it is
imperative our schools introduce workshops on the alter-
native resolution dispute programmes. Today we are
seeing overt school violence. These workshops should be
incorporated into the curriculum and have, for at least
one hour a day, role-plays etc.
If children do not learn from an early age how to re-
solve their problems without the use of violence we
would have a society that other countries can recruit
from for their wars.
If violence continues unabated among our schoolchild-
ren they would have justified fears of not wanting to at-
tend school. And who can blame them? The sooner this
programme is brought on-stream with effective presen-
ters and other professionals, the sooner we would have
stalled any dangerous conditions and save our scholars.
If our children do not go to school and enjoy a safe and
relaxed atmosphere our most important resources
would diminish and we, the adults, would be to blame.
The country is in deep trouble and we must acknowledge
it and do something "like yesterday," as the saying goes.
The programme must begin at the primary level and
continue al the way up---just like any other subject or
game of football. It must be ongoing for its importance
to become part of every student. There could be after-
school programmes for adults also.
Retired NYPD officer
MADE FOR RIDING
A baby green turtle
crawls to the sea
after being hatched
and released at a
turtle sanctuary on
Sukamade island in
regency, East Java
Monday. AFP PHOTO
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