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RECENTLY, I have been noticing something dat is becoming very worrying tuh me, and somehow it looks like the relevant people like duh doan really seem tuh notice or care too much. What is so worrying tuh me, is the amount o’ school age children I keep seeing home when the days come, pon the streets and not at school, when it is school time and duh should be in school. What I cahn understand is how it could be bothering me and it doan seem tuh be bothering the children demselves, the parents or families o’ these children, the teachers at the school these children go tuh, or the people in authority at the ministry, because I doan think dat I is the only body dat seeing it. The other day, I ask a li’l boy why he was home and wasn’t in school like all the other children in the vicinity; the li’l boy raise up he shoulders and mumble dat he ain’t know. I frown and ask him how he mean he ain’t know; ya got tuh know why ya ain’t at school. I ask him who he lives wid, so he said his father. I then asked him where his father was and he tell me dat he home. Just easy so. Nuh lot o’ long talk. The next thing I ask the li’l boy was which school he does go tuh and which form or class he in; the li’l boy tell me dat he was 11 years old and in first form. Now cud’dear, dat poor li’l boy now get into high school, he gotta now begin tuh experience a whole new type o’ teaching and school life, all kinds o’ new children, new teachers, new ways of teaching, new subjects, new surroundings and environment, and he home fuh over two whole weeks and the school term just begin. Now when dat li’l boy get back into school, and the other children obviously gone long and left he and he cahn catch up fast enough, some children might start tuh tease him ’bout how duncy he is, and you and I know where it gine go from here . . . fight! The next thing ya know, he gine be outta school again because he obviously is the troublemaker. Ya see, duh ain’t had nuh kinda fights nor disruptions when he was absent from school and the body he fighting wid is one o’ the nice bright boys in the class who doan give nuh kinda trouble at all. Another time in the same week, I was talking tuh another one who was a little older so I ask him how old he was; he told me dat he was 14 years old going on 15, so I proceeded tuh ask him too why he was not at school dat particular day. Look, the boy ain’t miss a beat, in a very matter o’ fact way he told me dat he wake up late. Well ya know I in shock now, but recovered long enough tuh ask him what time he wake up and tuh this, the boy, cool as a cucumber, tell me eight o’clock. Now tell me something, where is the parent or parents in all o’ this? He live by heself? Nuhbody doan be there tuh supervise he? Wha’ he is only 14 years old, and at the stage and age where he should be working on subjects dat would help him in the career he chooses, but no! He wake up late, stan’ home and hanging wid the boys pon the block. Ya see me? I does make it a point tuh talk wid young people, especially boys, every chance I get because dem is the ones who we keep losing so, I like tuh know where duh heads are. But this other boy, he too was 14 years old and was out o’ school fuh almost three weeks, so I called him and asked him why. He told me dat he did not have the money tuh pay fuh his books and petty fees at the beginning o’ the term and was sent home until he got dem. I ain’t gotta tell ya’all how I felt, because I could relate tuh dat; it is a real horrible feeling. Ya see, when I was at the Federal High School, I too got sent home because my parents didn’t have the money tuh pay fuh my school fees nor my books but unlike some o’ these boys, I had tuh keep my tail inside and do all types o’ revision until my poor father coulda raise the money. But who checking pon these children though? My sister tell me dat if a child miss two school days, ya have tuh get and bring in a doctor’s certificate; she also talk about the people who duh does call inspectors who does be checking pon students. But I ain’t care ’bout who checking or who ain’t checking, the parents o’ these children should be held accountable and dealt wid. When children are supposed tuh be in school, they should be in school. • Mavis Beckles was born and raised in The Orleans. She has an opinion on everything.