She could have been killed!
President of Barbados National Council of Parent Teacher Association (BNCPTA) Shone Gibbs said that was the chilling thought that went through his mind as he watched a video of a student being repeatedly kicked by fellow pupils.
“There is no need for anyone to take the law into their own hands, but it must be prosecuted to the hills by the family of the victim because we cannot allow these things to happen, this level of bullying and intimidation, because someone could have easily lost their life yesterday,” Gibbs said, as he joined a chorus of condemnation of those involved in the attack.
In the video, which went viral on social media, a Lester Vaughan Secondary School student is seen being chased down by an angry mob –– some of whom could be heard hurling loud expletives –– before she fell to the ground and was repeatedly kicked in the head by some of her peers.
The attack was allegedly over an argument about a $15 bottle of hair spritz.
“What we are seeing is not normal, what we are seeing is untenable and it must be arrested in the interest of our country; in the interest of our future it must be arrested,” Gibbs said, as he repeatedly expressed horror at brutal attack.
President of the Lester Vaughan Secondary School Parent Teachers Association Donna Sealy expressed similar sentiments, telling Barbados TODAY she was horrified by what she saw.
She said the PTA and the principal were committed to resolving the issue, adding: “I don’t think that our girls and children should be fighting, and we need to get to the root of the anger,” Sealy said.
Former head of the Barbados Family Planning Association (BFPA) George Griffith believes he knows the where the blame lies.
The social activist told Barbados TODAY it is cultivated at home, where children are introduced to violence through flogging, and bears fruit at school.
“We really should not be surprised at this level of violence simply because . . . a considerable amount of our children are socialized in very hostile and aggressive environments, whether it be home or in the community.
“If you listen to the way some adults speak with children, it is always in a very aggressive or very threatening tone; and the fact we have taught children . . . to believe that if somebody has done something wrong, the quickest response is to hit, and I think that goes back to our attitude to hitting, flogging and corporal punishment,” he said.
“We teach children that you can hit and inflict pain and suffering when somebody tells you something wrong, but yet we say domestic violence is wrong and children should not be fighting on the streets or at school,” he added.
Griffith said it was time parents stopped beating children “into submission”, and he argued that Barbadians needed to decide what was necessary to create a violence-free environment in which to raise children.
“I think it is something we are witnessing in the society and it has to do with the level of impulsiveness and lack of discipline. We have to redouble our efforts to really train our children.
“All of us must get up off our backsides if we want to bring about a positive change in society. Instead of condemning the young people, think about the homes that those young women are coming from, how much aggression is there and how much they themselves have been abused and beaten into submission by parents who claim to love them,” the former BFPA head said.
Earlier this month President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Redman warned the Ronald Jones-led Ministry of Education not to allow cell phones in schools, saying these devices would only exacerbate the problem of gang activity and pose a major security threat to schools.
Redman had told Barbados TODAY a troubling trend had emerged where students affiliated with gangs from various communities were using their mobile devices to call for backup whenever there was conflict with other students.
She also said then there were many examples on social media of students engaging in brutal and barbaric fights, spurred on by their classmates, in a bid to garner likes.
“Cell phone use is contributing to the ill-discipline because as soon as there is a fight now children whip out the cell phones and the ones who are fighting know they are being recorded and they are performing as well,” the BSTU head said at the time.