In the wake a recent disturbing video of two schoolgirls engaging in a fierce afterschool fight, a leading court official says social media is partly to blame for the rowdy behaviour.
Last week’s incident, which has led to the suspension of the two St George Secondary School students, has been making the rounds on the worldwide web.
Though admitting that she had not seen the video, the Registrar of the Supreme Court, Barbara Cooke-Alleyne, said she was very concerned that the frequency of such violent behaviour appeared to be on the increase, and that girls were often the perpetrators.
“They are saying things to each other, the persons are hearing it and they are reacting and they are fighting in their uniform,” she noted, lamenting that “there is no pride of school any more … on the premises, on the road, in terminals, because of what’s being said about them on social media”.
The Registrar further bemoaned the fact that girls were seemingly more aggressive these days and were not acting like ladies any more.
“A boy would come and give you a lash and go on, but girls would come in groups, they’re fighting and they are fending and cursing on the social media and in person,” Cooke-Alleyne said, while urging parents to monitor social media to see what their children were doing.
She said policymakers could also play a role in regulating social media by putting measures in place to keep offensive content out.
The judicial officer also said she was noticing an increase in the number of under-age girls, who were wandering away from home.
In fact, she said wandering now accounted for about 80 per cent of crimes among girls, a situation, which she said, was of particular concern to her.
Cooke-Alleyne noted that as a magistrate she came face to face with juvenile crime, but as registrar she saw court statistics.
“I am seeing that wandering is still high for the girls,” she said. “For the boys I am still seeing the theft is still high for them. And with the brand name in our face, the cell phones, the smart phones, the shoplifting is still going on. We would also see the drugs among the boys, drug possession and this is mainly of marijuana.”
Cooke-Alleyne said there was also some evidence that young boys were selling drugs because they were often found with foil and vegetable matter.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of an instructional and motivational programme for this year’s 11-plus graduates, she also warned parents about a new trend in the illegal drug trade, where young people were taking home “hookers”.
The former juvenile magistrate explained that while they may look like pens, they were really implements for smoking drugs.