Teachers Union concerned about increased school violence and loitering

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Teachers Union concerned about increased school violence and loitering
Weapons seized from school children earlier this year.
Weapons seized from school children earlier this year.

Given the increasing number of student fights that have occurred over the past couple of weeks, there have been widespread discussions relating to this issue and what can be done to address it.

President of the St. Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU) Julian Monrose has added its voice and told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) yesterday that it requires a collective approach to curb this problem.

Monrose told SNO that everyone has to take responsibility for their child or children, but society also has a responsibility to ensure that they play a positive role in a child’s development.

“They have a role to play in helping to guide children in a positive direction,” he stated.

The SLTU president said the moral fabric is slowly deteriorating and must be taken more seriously.

“We need to train our children in such a way that they understand violence is not the answer,” Monrose told SNO.

While he acknowledged that efforts have been made to address this issue, the SLTU head asserted that more needs to be done by parents and guardians as well, not only to reduce violence, but bring an end to loitering.

Monrose also raised concerns over students walking with weapons in their school bags.

“A weapon is a threat to persons in the school or in the vicinity where the person is. We know that every school rule opposes that behaviour. They need to understand that behaviour is unacceptable,” he added.

Teachers, he explained, are already playing their part in helping to mold and guide students in a positive direction. However, it is left up to the individual pupil to accept the teaching or not to. The church also has a responsibility in helping to teach youth positive values and principles.

Education Minister Dr. Robert Lewis has told the media that the issue is one that requires serious attention and has since called for an end to loitering after school hours. The minister has suggested that while some of the children may not be involved in violent activities, as was witnessed over the past weeks, parents should give children a change of clothing if they have errands to conduct.

Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police Vernon Francois has also called for a holistic approach to the issue, especially as it relates to loitering. The top cop has suggested that a discussion between parents, teachers and law enforcement officials be initiated. Francois said hopefully the discussions will help to bring some resolution to the problem, as it cannot continue any longer.

Vendors and minibus drivers have been complaining that Castries is usually swamped with school children on a daily basis, but mostly on Fridays. They claim that the students would gather at the mini-bus parks and Constitution Park to lime, which most times end up with violent behaviour.

In June this year, the police said during 2013 and mid 2014, they confiscated a number of weapons from students at various primary and secondary schools within the education districts 1 to 3. The weapons included: 35 knives, 26 scissors, a 24-inch cutlass, eight metal eating forks and a piece of wood with a nail embedded in it and three four-inch penknives.

Other items found included a bottle of alcohol, several ounces of marijuana, a golf club, a live .380 bullet and a rope measuring 57 inches, which was intended to be used for committing suicide.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. There are soooo many young parents now. They are having a hard time controlling their children. My advise to the youth. Enjoy ur youth... leave adult business for later on in life. Parents need to have better morals and keep a check on their school children.

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  2. Whatever lecture Sir John is giving those kids at Constitution Park esp. on Fridays, he needs to come out on national television to address the entire nation.

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  3. What was most disappointing when the school patrol wanted to enact curfew for school kids was the fact that the president of the principals association (at the time) said the kids are safer on the streets than home. What a ridiculous statement. If the curfew was in effect, parents would have no choice but to make the necessary arrangements for their kids to be safe at home. Also i know of a secondary school which started the after school program where students didn't have to pay a cent. The students didn't stay for the programs but they were in town loitering. Some parents don't care anymore and some of them are not worthy of being parents because they allow their kids to make decisions that ultimately hurt them. They will no doubt turn to negative influences if they are allowed to roam the streets with no limitations. I say back with the curfew, install police officers at the secondary schools so they can conduct searches.

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  4. Loitering after school in the downtown area has been alive and well long before I left home. It was mainly done at secondary school level. The girls were checking out the boys and the boys were checking out the girls. Also, groups talking about the day's events and other stuff. It was mostly harmless.It has become a problem because there are more secondary schools and students than ever. That being said,how violent is that pastime? Do we want to channel the participants into one and one rendezvous? Remember, to every action there is a reaction. If a violent few are affecting a harmless activity, there are many ways to skin that cat. One of them may be little more presence of law can help significantly. Remember, after school dismisses, there are students kept back for detention, sports, club activity, remedial learning and others. They too add to the congestion after school.

    I also understand the bus drivers frustration, because those delayed students are causing chaos at the rush hour. I believe this problem needs to be studied carefully, before rushing to a "solution."

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  5. The minister of education suggestion is not the best ... now the children will put clothes in their bags and roam in town n before they get home put on their uniforms... they're leaving home with weapons they can leave home with anything ... Parents need to hv more control of their children but that is not enough, when the law and government intervenes ppl crying.."beh-heh"

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  6. Yes my Commissioner, I absolutely agree that a holistic approach to the issues facing our youths is imperative, however, are we really willing to extirpate the problems? I have a remedy for this one; therefore I will add to your account that parents, teachers, and police does not constitute a "whole", they're only half.
    Ahh, Mr. Monrose, I know that your head is filled and I know that you're fed up. You are correct by saying that society also has a responsibility to ensure..... a child’s development; however, in light of the viewed spectrum, these and those are the results of " everyone playing a role ".
    I am flabbergasted, that the Education Minister would advise a change of clothing to run errands; this sounds like adding fuel to the fire. I know that this situation is remedial, therefore, will the " players" continue to play their part, or will we as a society come together to put a stop to it.

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  7. The problem is that parents need to be more responsible for their children. When the bell rings it is time to go home and not time to be loitering. Look at how many of our boys/men are in prison and the girls given the boys licks in education.
    Time to wake up people, start doing something constructive with ourselves and stop wasting our time and energies uselessly.

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  8. Delinquent parents = delinquent children. They need to start charging parents for the crimes of their minor children, only then will they take their responsibility seriously

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  9. As a bold statement on Friday afternoon instead of having the police chasing after them , parents/guardians should walk the streets of Castries and take their child home . This problem we need to tackle head on , we tried the conventional way and it didn't work . Let's make bold statement st. Lucia , if you busy at work have a relative pick them up, we need to do something fast .

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  10. The authorities need to act swiftly. Dont sit idly by like some of the parents and do nothing causing this hooligan children to think that they're untouchable. Get them off the streets after school and free up the spaces in town especially.

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    • Why Authorities first? The parents have a responsibility for their children after school hours. Every parent MUST know what time their child(ren) school dismisses. MUST put a time for them to be at home. If nothing is being said to them how do you expect the authority to deal with that. When the Police wanted to deal with it every body cry foul including president of the teachers union.Now they don't know what to do.

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  11. parents are the key. Ensure your child returns immediately from school. If everyone did this, then there would be less scope for them to wander down the wrong path.

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