(BARBADOS TODAY) – In a most worrying display of violence, four students from two Government-run secondary schools were left nursing multiple wounds following a stabbing incident aboard a state-run Transport Board school bus this morning.
The incident, which has been strongly condemned by the Ronald Jones-led Ministry of Education, is the latest in a series of violent acts that have rocked the learning sector over the past two years.
Earlier today, police issued a statement in which the latest victims were identified as a 15-year-old girl, two 14-year-old boys and a 15-year-old boy.
Police also reported that the injuries, which were not classified as life threatening, resulted from an altercation between students from two secondary schools in the north of the island.
Following the incident, the girl and one of the 14-year-old boys were transported to the state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) by ambulance, while the other two injured students were transported to the QEH by private vehicle.
Barbados TODAY investigations have since revealed that the students involved were from the Daryll Jordan and Frederick Smith secondary schools.
However, in a statement issued by the Barbados Government Information Service this evening, the ministry said all it could confirm was that there was a “fracas” involving students of two of the island’s secondary schools and that there “might have been some injuries because of this commotion”.
It also said it was awaiting communication from the Royal Barbados Police Force and the principals of the respective schools before making any additional comments about the incident.
“The ministry nevertheless frowns on this type of behaviour and urges all students to conduct themselves in a manner which exemplifies the highest decorum and behaviour possible,” it added in the statement.
Just two weeks ago, a disturbing video was circulating online showing a male student from Grantley Adams Memorial School setting fire to the hair of an unsuspecting female student, who was on her mobile phone at a bus stop a stone’s throw away from the Blackman’s, St Joseph school.
Another student quickly extinguished the fire and the affected pupil escaped injury.
However, the alleged perpetrator was later charged and sent off to the Government Industrial School following the incident which drew sharp condemnation from the President of the Barbados National Council of Parent Teachers Association Shone Gibbs, who described the video as “extremely disturbing” and nothing to laugh about.
Last November two teenagers were also arrested and charged in connection with an altercation at the Ellerslie Secondary School, which resulted in a 16-year-old male receiving several cutlass wounds to his right hand in what has been a series of worrying incidents that have prompted calls by both the Barbados Union of Teachers and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union for a comprehensive plan to be put in place to combat such incidents.
Back in 2016, at the height of concerns by teachers about a spate of violent incidents in schools, Minister of Education Ronald Jones had announced plans to establish a broad-based committee to investigate violence in schools, including student-on-student violence and student-on-teacher violence.
Jones had also said the committee would investigate any cases of teacher-on-student violence “if that exists” and would provide recommendations on how to resolve the issue and enhance security at schools.
However, since then little has been said and no noticeable plan has been put in place by the Jones-led ministry which is opposed to having metal detectors in school.