While typing this, tears are building. I didn’t want to comment but this is too heavy on my heart to stay silent. As a husband, father, Barbadian and educator, my heart grieves for my country.
What Barbados and the world saw of the recent beating of the female student was shocking to many but those in the teaching service can testify this occurs weekly in many and in a few cases daily in our public secondary schools.
Most have condemned the gang of girls and the few boys who physically abused the girl but very few have condemned the scores of students who cheered on the beating, seeing it as entertaining. They are equally as guilty.
We are failing our young people and, as a result, have been consistently setting up the failure and destruction of Barbados’ future. The culture of a nation is shaped within the home and within the school; as a result, we need to be very careful and deliberate with what is established, taught and practiced in each of these “wombs”.
The Bible says that people will perish because they are “ingrunt” (lacking knowledge). The Ministry and the Minister refuse to reveal to the public what happens in our schools. I do not understand why there is a need to cover up and not to name schools when serious occurrences take place.
Since schools are funded by taxpayers, it means Barbadians are shareholders in the education system and despite not receiving any annual dividends, we should at least receive annual reports.
I guarantee you that NOT ONE SINGLE secondary teacher was in any way shocked by the recent events. Some teachers have become so numb to these recordings due to dealing with situations like these DAILY. Oh, and there are many more videos like these. These fights, brawls and disturbances aren’t limited to only schools but are frequent at bus stops, in Bridgetown, Speightstown, in the van stands, bus terminals and on the public transportation.
I am praying for the day when teachers as well as students are bold enough to openly reveal ALL that occurs in schools – even if it is anonymously. Unless we tell the truth and are humble to share the good, bad and ugly, we will never be in a position to truly make a change. When the truth is revealed, we will then understand how ALL, yes ALL of US are contributing to the problem and as a result how ALL, yes ALL of us, can play a part in the solution.
The problem with our young people is multi-dimensional but here are the main six (not in any specific order):
1. Home (Parents)
2. Community (adults)
3. Church (spirituality)
4. Government (leadership)
5. Education (cognitive, emotional, intellectual, relational development)
6. Media & Technology (serious threat)
Man (Woman) is three dimensional – Body (flesh), Soul (emotions, mind, will) and Spirit. We as a society only focus on two; the soul and the flesh. We are an unbalanced people, living in an unbalanced society, producing an unbalanced offspring. Anytime a tripod stand has one leg that is weak, ignored or missing, whatever that stand is supporting will ALWAYS fall over.
What people fail to realize is that all this anger, rejection, violence, abuse, selfishness, greed, ungratefulness, shame, guilt et cetera bound up in the hearts of our children, will be magnified in the adults of society in 10 years.
If this is our youth generation today, seriously think about what the adults of the future will look like.
These are the adults who will teach our children, be the politicians, the civil service, the business community, the tradesmen, the barristers and legislators and the list goes on. We adults are a bunch of hypocrites. Our children mimic the standards we set and then we seek to condemn them – that makes no sense at all.
All the violence, robbery, theft, shooting and drug abuse we are complaining about in today’s society are as a result of the homes and community environments children are a part of and the music and entertainment we allow them to partake of, which encourages them in the same behaviour. All those young men on the court pages every day, were school children. Many are just a product of their upbringing, community, educational system and system of governance and leadership.
1. When female students can tell you if they done school with no CXCs, they will be like Natalie (the Bush Hill prostitute of social media ‘fame’) and mek nuff money, you know what time it is.
2. When you have young ladies who gladly broadcast and are proud to be a “rat-boxy” (‘a girl who does sex she best friend man’ – as they explained to me), you know what time it is.
3. When you call a parent to a school because their 1st form child has been reported to be involved in inappropriate activities of a sexual nature and the parent tells you, “well she got to learn sometime”, you know what time it is
4. When you call a parent to ask them to come to the school because their daughter made a sexual pass at a male teacher and opened her legs and said “Sir, I got this for you” and the parent responds “wuh I got to come up by the school cause if my daughter mek moves pun you, you got tuh look real good”, you know what time it is.
5. When a fourth former can tell you her boyfriend was beating her from second form and she accustomed and after talking with her some more and you find out that her father used to beat her mother, then they separated and now her father beats his girlfriend and her mother gets beaten by her new boyfriend, you know what time it is.
6. When you ask over four classes with at least 30 students each at different schools, how many children live with both mummy and daddy and in all the classes, less than five hands are raised, you know what time it is.
7. When you have lesbians in a school who control the female bathrooms and junior girls hold their urine until they get home because the lesbians hold down any girls who enter the bathroom and sexually assault them, you know what time it is.
8. When you have a primary school girl caught in a bathroom with four primary school boys and the girl charging five cents to see and 10 cents to touch, you know what time it is.
9. When you have a boy coming to school with his books in a ladies clutch bag and a junior boy bragging how much man he does take, you know what time it is.
10. When you have students who don’t know the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23 or have NEVER been to Sunday School, you know what time it is.
11. When you have a first former coming to school every day around 10:30am, falling asleep in class, always depressed and you sit with him during lunch to talk and he says he doesn’t sleep at night because the police are always at his house because cause his mother and father fight every night like dogs – you know what time it is
12. When a fourth former tells you her mother has a pastor who is married and on more than one occasion she and her primary school sister have seen them having sex on the ground in the living room – you know what time it is
These are but a few of the situations I have encountered and heard directly from students and other teachers; and these aren’t the worse. I don’t know if you can handle the worse. It is time to LEAD. It is time to pray. It is time to support teachers and listen to their concerns. It is time for parents to be held accountable for failing as parents and incorporated into programmes to help them. It is time for adults to accept responsibility and recognize what they do have a direct effect on what Barbados is and becomes. It is time to tell the truth and reveal the facts so we can work on adequate solutions.
(The author is a former teacher)