An increasing number of young girls are being referred to the Edna Nicholls Centre, which specializes in dealing with troubled children.
Programme Coordinator Deborah Hewitt has revealed that while boys continued to outnumber girls at the institution, there was a rapidly changing demographic, particularly in the last year.
“The data shows boys outnumber girls on the enrolment at a ratio of three to one. However, this changed slightly during the last school year where the ratio was two to one,” Hewitt said yesterday as she delivered the report for last year during the reopening of the Boscobel, St Peter facility.
Despite the growing number of female students, the programme coordinator said the sheer volume of young men referred to the centre was an indication that “our boys need positive male figure with which to identify”.
Third and fourth form students account for the largest number of referrals, making the mid-adolescent group the leading participants, she said, adding that during the past academic year there was “a notable shift” to second form students.
Fighting – with or without weapons – and disrespecting people in authority were the most common reasons for referrals, while drug abuse continued to be a common denominator in delinquent students, she revealed.
“The data also reflects that one in three students test positive for drug abuse. For a test that uses 25 nanograms per millilitre for a positive result, our students tend to fall within the 300 to 500 ranges, and our highest reading was 2,998 nanograms per millilitre. In addition there were two boys and one girl who tested positive for cocaine use,” Hewitt stressed.
She suggested that the authorities were missing an ideal opportunity to use available data gathered by organisations that specialize in dealing with troubled children to help formulate strategies to tackle rising disciplinary problems in the school system.
Hewitt argued that facilities such as hers possess invaluable data, which, if tapped into by Government, could provide answers to many of the problems in the schools.
“The centre is a storehouse of information and primed for research. Such research, if done in a timely fashion, can point the direction for the relevant authorities to stem the tide of young adult anti-social behaviour in our society. Our records point to key demographics, especially in adolescent deviant behaviour,” Hewitt stressed.