Principals must be supported on schoolbag ban
Even the most stoic among us would agree that in recent years there have been some behaviours which do not appear to accord with the traditional Barbadian culture and we are being forced to engage in self-examination in order to discover where we are going wrong.
Indeed, the current debate on the state of crime in this country is one of the most important to have taken place in recent times.
The proliferation of gun-related crimes in which life is being snuffed out as though it did not matter, is distinctly against the culture of this country. Yet shooting – with intent more often than not – is being practised with such frequency that it seems clear that foreign insidious and criminal influences are gaining a foothold amongst a section of our younger folk. And they are the ones whose future cannot bode well if the present quicksand of anti-social behaviour embeds itself in our society.
Time was when the school was a main vehicle for inculcating into our youngsters the landmarks for life that are marked out in religious texts such as the Bible and reinforced by attendance at churches within the villages; or as part of the school experience itself.
We were a much more disciplined society in those days, but the stabilising influences in the society were weakened just at the time when technology exposed our television sets and our homes and our minds to cultural penetration usually from North America. We did little then to counter these influences.
It now seems clear that such penetration has reached more subtle proportions. The action of school principals in banning schoolbags which carry images and messages glorifying criminal or quasi criminal behaviour is to be much applauded. Mainstream society cannot allow itself to be swamped under tsunami of morally bankrupt and socially destructive messages aimed at impressionable youth.
We are told that we should train up a child in the way he should grow, and when he is old he will not depart. Well these deviant messages carried and paraded by young students at school will breed contempt for the law, encourage the commodification of women and encourage criminal love affairs with guns bullets and marijuana. Our entire society should condemn this development.
But we should be equally concerned about the length of time accused persons are spending on remand.
Prisons can become incubators for the criminally minded and long periods on remand before trial are to be avoided not only because of human rights considerations but because fertilisation of criminal ideas may result. The results are always harmful to the society.
No one should regard criminal behaviour or other practices which conduce to crime and thereby harm the social fabric,
as practices which should be emblazoned on the minds of our people.
The government, the non-governmental organisations, our schools and, above all, our parents must recognise the major problem we have on our hands. Equally we must recognise that we have allowed ideas inimical to the well- being of our society to have a free ride and the results are obvious.
It is now time for the mainstream society to get active and to fight back against these destructive forces. The system of processing criminal cases must be improved, and we have to counter the deviant behaviours which very often lead to crime.
The principals have made a proper start. They must be fully supported.