Former educator John Goddard is giving Chief Magistrate Christopher Birch a thumbs up for the way he handled a schoolboy who came before him for beating a teacher.
In fact, Goddard is sending a warning to authorities that the violence in schools may cause young people to turn their heads from the teaching profession.
Last week, when the fourteen-year-old student appeared before the court for beating the teacher over a cell phone battery, Chief Magistrate Birch told him he must have been on drugs, and remanded him to the Government Industrial School for 28 days.
Birch also ordered that the young man receive a drug test.
While speaking at the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), lunchtime lecture, at the George Street Auditorium, Belleville, St Michael, last Friday, Goddard, applauded the Chief Magistrate’s approach.
“I applaud Magistrate Birch for the reprimand which he gave to that boy,” Goddard said.
Goddard said he was concerned that a disruptive subculture was impacting negatively on schools, making the job of teachers a nightmare.
He said that some children have absolutely no respect for teachers.
“And after a recent statement in the House of Assembly, children now believe that teachers have no authority. I warned about that. I don’t know if ya’ll read the article I wrote, but I warned about that. But what is happening now, is that principals are being challenged, teachers are experiencing old hell in the schools, because the children let them know, you can’t touch me.
“You can’t even say anything to them. That teacher that we are talking about, did not touch the child, except for taking the cellular phone [battery] to make sure that it is not going to cause any disruption in the class, but the boy went for a piece of wood with two nails to beat the teacher. Were it not for those two male teachers who intervened, God knows what would happen with that teacher,” Goddard said.
Addressing the topic: Advancing the Education Agenda, the former educator noted that teachers were not paid well in the first place, and then they are being exposed to “the nonsense going on in schools”, may cause young men and women not to want to take up the teaching profession.
“If I were young now, I don’t know that I would go into teaching,” he said.
Goddard said a political party serious about development in Barbados, must come up with a clear and comprehensive strategy for advancing education on the island.