From left, Sergeant Hallam Jemmott, guidance counsellor of Graydon Sealy Secondary Donna Tull-Cox and PRO for the Alexandra School Alumni Association, Antoinette Connell, during the panel discussion. (Picture by Reco Moore.)
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Guidance counsellor Donna Tull-Cox has put the blame at the feet of parents whose children stray from the straight and narrow.
“The trend used to be that boys were violent and girls would have skirmishes, but not anymore. Violence is boy to boy, girl to girl, girl to boy and boy to girl. And with increasing regularity we are seeing child to adult in the school.
“Across the number of schools that I have been with, I see parents get slapped and kicked by their own children. I see parents of other children slapping and kicking children that don’t belong to them all on the school compound,” she said Saturday night during a panel discussion on violence hosted by Alexandra School Alumni at the St Peter school. She attributed exposure to violence and “noise” as factors that contributed to the youth’s violent behaviours.
She said that this “noise” didn’t just come from the media, but in the way children were spoken to from young.
“They hear all the loud music sometimes not from in their own homes, but from neighbours with all the vile, cruel words you can hear.
“So imagine being in that state all the time; that’s what’s happening with our children. . . . [with] every bit of noise . . . their bodies are in this constant state of adrenaline rush, so everything is a threat and if everything is a threat, you are going to take it out before it takes you out,” she added.
The discussion was attended by head of the Juvenile Liaison Scheme, Sergeant Hallam Jemmott, and public relations officer at the Barbados National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations, Donna Sealy.
Sealy said she had witnessed situations where it seemed the parent-child relationship was reversed. She also said it was important for parents to set high standards for the children and not allow them, especially boys, to become crime statistics.
Both she and Jemmott said more former students needed to give back to their alma mater through mentorship, by and working closer with the parent-teacher associations.
“Our children are searching for role models; they are looking to us as examples,” he said. “One of the things that we take pride in [at the Scheme] is listening to children talk. The mere fact that you spend time listening to them goes a long way even if you have one day where they go in and sit in on some classes you interact with them. Let them know you’re human.” (TG)