Thursday 22 August, 2019

Community intervention needed in youth upbringing, Garcia says

With the reduction of violence and indiscipline in the nation’s schools, Education Minister Anthony Garcia is calling on the community to step up to the plate and do its part in moulding T&T’s youth.

The Minister’s call to action follows the police shooting of 15-year-old Isaac Simmons during a robbery in Marabella last week.

He said the absence of community involvement in the upbringing of the nation’s youth is one of the major reasons for the prevalence of young persons being involved in crime and gang activity.

Garcia urged parents and the national community to be their brother’s keeper.

“We must return to the days of a village raising a child as it is this new found hands off approach that has led to the significant breakdown of the development of our youth. We must each do our part to protect our young people and we must not be afraid to speak out when we see them doing wrong.”

The Minister said Simmons’ killing has highlighted the importance of the initiatives being undertaken by the Education Ministry and underscores the importance of all stakeholders taking responsibility for their role in these endeavours.

Garcia said the Ministry continues to use School Based Management to engage all stakeholders of the school community, to develop discipline plans specific to each school environment and the individual discipline challenges that may surface.

Necessary staff are in place to facilitate the proper execution of this initiative, he assured.

Voicing the Ministry’s sympathies for all of the families that have lost loved ones as a result of crime and violence, Garcia said the Ministry is doing its part to ensure discipline is enforced in the school environment.

He noted that the Ministry has taken a zero tolerance approach to indiscipline in schools as a way of mitigating these incidents in schools and has embarked on removing students who have repeatedly been reported as having behavioural issues and using intervention through Learning Enhancement Centres to council and rehabilitate these students before ​reintroduction ​ to their original classrooms once assessment is completed.

Garcia concluded by affirming the Ministry’s commitment to ensuring that the nation’s schools are safe spaces where indiscipline is in a minority.

He assured that programmes such as School Based Management, Parenting in Education and collaborative efforts with other education interest groups will continue to be used to reduce instances of youth related crime, violence and death, declaring that one occurrence is one too many.

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