Friday, April 19, 2024

Something must be done about bullies


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Dear Christine,
It is time for the Ministry of Education to find out what is going on at a certain school. From the time my child went into that school, she was having problems. Even though she complained to her teacher, the headhas taken no action.
My daughter is bullied by older students who call her names. She was given a new bag to take to school a few weeks ago and a third-former destroyed it. When her mother was asked to replace the bag, she said she was not going to.
You can’t see the head unless you have an appointment, but sometimes we still don’t get to meet with her.
Many times the bus drivers drive their buses to the police station because of fights and abusive language students. I travel on the buses from time to time, so I know some students stop at the shop nearby to get away from full assembly. Some gamble, beg and harass the little ones.
Sometimes when my daughter is hit by another student she defends herself, but the teacher still punishes her. This also happens to many other children. One of the parents went to the Ministry of Education and was told they do not believe her.
This school is not all that it seems to be.
Students disrespect security personnel in the bus terminal every day, and sometimes they don’t even want to board the buses that are sent for them. Calling the school to complain is a waste of time because the teachers and the principal just do not listen.
I’m trying to move my child from that school. She was injured but still nothing has happened. First-formers are having problems when they go to the bathroom. In fact, the older children do not give them the chance to use the bathroom.
Christine, I’m not going on hearsay but what I see for myself. The older children bully the smaller ones for their money and call them names.
We, the parents of students of this school, are seeking the ministry’s help in helping our children. I am fed up at this point.
Please help me to get the Ministry of Education to listen to us – the parents. These matters need to be addressed.
 Dear Mother,
A Voice Of Many,
Your letter is worthy of immediate attention and, yes, the Ministry of Education must be called into account.
Your letter is also the third such letter I have received during the past four weeks, which tells me that there is some measure of instability, poor governance and low morale at some of our island’s schools – not that these things never existed before, but they have become rampant.
I most recently held the view that principals and teachers must be given the right to discipline as they see fit, but when they refuse to do so when discipline is due, that’s another matter.
It is clear to me that some of our schools are in crisis. Last week alone I was surprised to view, via video on a cellphone, a junior student from an older secondary school in St Peter being beaten about her body and head by three (or more) students from another older secondary school in that parish.
If the Ministry of Education or principals continue to bury their heads in the sand and do nothing about what is taking place within some of our schools, I dread to think what will happen next.
Mind you, I am keenly aware that when some principals try to enforce rules and regulations, they are criticized by parents and members of the public.
As a parent you cannot take matters into your hands, but there must be a time and place for discourse with school and ministry officials. It is not enough for our children to suffer through what I see taking place within some schools.
If what is happening continues, we may one day reach the point where personnel from the Royal Barbados Police Force or the Barbados Defence Force may have to help guard our schools. Heaven forbid!
Let’s hope the ministry takes action soon, before things reach the breaking point.


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