The president of the Barbados National Council of Parent-Teacher Associations (BNCPTA), Shone Gibbs, has reacted to a video, which has gone viral showing two female St George Secondary School students fighting and exhibiting unruly behaviour.
“It would be disturbing for any civil minded Barbadian and parents must be extremely concerned as to what is happening with our children that would create such anger that a child that should be going to school to learn, can be so comfortable to inflict that level of violence against another,” a shocked Gibbs told Barbados TODAY after viewing the video.
In the almost two minute-long video, the two students are seen engaging in a fierce fist fight being witnessed by fellow schoolmates who are cheering on the winner and scorning the loser. At least once during the video, the voice of a male student was heard shouting expletives.
One of the girls pummelled the other as she lay on the ground screaming and shielding her face with both hands. When the loser rose to her feet, she started to retaliate by slapping and tugging her opponent. However, that only lasted for a brief while, because a male adult intervened and parted the fight. The video ended there.
When contacted, Principal Sonja Goodridge said both students had been suspended for 10 days following last week’s incident, which took place just outside of the school’s compound and was now in the hands of the police.
Barbados TODAY understands one of the students involved in the raucous fight was recently transferred to the institution.
Gibbs said the BNCPTA was concerned about the level of violence in schools and was currently working with stakeholders to embark on a parent education programme to assist parents in coping with at risk children who may have challenges to align them to their purpose.
According to Gibbs, the incident was evidence that parents needed to seriously come together as a society and look at ways to “rescue our children”.
“If we must do anything about what is happening in our school and within society, we must revisit the way we do parenting. Parenting is coming into focus and how we have failed our children,” he said.
However, Gibbs said he was not of the view that the present generation was lost, but added the possibility was there if decisive action was not taken now.
“I am a parent and we are of the view that violence in schools puts everyone within that school at risk. Any level of violence in schools must be a concern for stakeholders involved in education. We need to wrap our minds together and come up with a solution and mechanism on how we can reduce it and treat to it in a more serious fashion,” he said.
The NCPTA president said he believed both students involved in the fight needed to be counseled. “I believe the aggressor needs help but the students who continued to stand for the level of abuse and didn’t even run, something would have to be wrong with them too,” he added.
Gibbs said the fact that the video had gone viral, brought back the question of abuse of cellular phones in schools into focus. He said the question, which must be asked at this time was if Barbados was ready to lift the ban on cellular phones in schools.