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EDITORIAL: We must make it work for our kids

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: We must make it work for our kids

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Children, after all, are not just adults-in-the-making. They are people whose current needs and rights and experiences must be taken seriously. – Alfie Kohn, American author and parenting adviser.
LETNIE?ROCK’S?DISAPPOINTMENT – subtly expressed though it be – with the absence of social workers in school is not without good cause.
After all, it was 35 years ago – when student delinquency and mayhem were much less intense – that Dr Rock had recommended such a coping mechanism.
And if the authorities then might be excused for thinking it too radical a step, those of the present can hardly expect to be given such condonation. Certainly, in the last decade, there can be no excuse whatsoever for the dismissal of Dr Rock’s suggestion by the powers that be.
The virtually frustrated social work expert lamented to the Press on Tuesday: “. . . We are trying to get the Ministry of Education to recognize [the need for social workers in schools].”
What can the matter be? No money? No interest? No vision?
It appears the powers that be are content with the placement of guidance counsellors in the school. But while some roles of the guidance counsellor and social worker might overlap, their substantive missions are differently distinct.
The former is essentially about career counselling and intellectual empowerment, the latter about delinquency management, environmental damage control, familial crisis solving and social development in the home.
It seems to us the social worker can better lay a sound foundation for the guidance counsellor in his or her pursuit of the blend of well-being and academic-cum-practicum excellence among school students.
Head of the Department of Government, Sociology and Social Work of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Dr Rock deserves more than passing notice; her submission demands careful and calculated attention.
Given the breakdown of traditionally exhibited responsibility, parental guidance and role-modelling in some families today, as evidenced by the shocking conduct of minors in primary school particularly, Dr Rock’s renewed offer of solution is like a beacon relit above the treacherous rocks of social and moral decay.
We can be guided by the social work expert’s lighthouse and barge of hope, or we can languish in the waters of procrastination, indecisiveness and uncertainty – and ultimately perish, having been swept onto the reefs of decadence.
And we would have done ourselves and our charges grave injustice.