Concerned Barbadians who are aggrieved at the spate of violence in secondary schools across the island are welcoming news that hand-held metal detectors may be used at some schools across the island.
Some members of the public told a Barbados TODAY team they believed all hope was not lost in getting the problem under control.
They said that the introduction of the security device at schools where students have been caught with weapons, would be a step in the right direction, in light of last Friday’s murder of 16-year-old Frederick Smith student Temario Holder by another student.
Fish vendor Delores Beckles who operates at the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex, said she hoped that Holder’s death was a wake-up call that serious measures must be taken to tackle the issue which was a reflection of society.
“The metal detectors are a good thing them doing. No child should be going to school with knives and scissors because that shows they are going to school looking for trouble. School children should be school children. They are going to school to learn, not to fight,” Beckles said.
Beckles also said she believed that additional security officers should be placed in schools to patrol the premises, particularly when students were out of the classroom.
“Two or three guards should be going around the school to see that things are in order. I also think that they need one undressed police constable. All of my children finish school but I have grandchildren at school so I agree with the metal detectors but they need more guards,” Beckles said.
Andrea Joseph, also a worker at the complex, said that while she was not against the introduction of the hand-held detectors she believed that measure would work to a certain extent. She said provisions must be put in place for students who may find a way to get weapons onto the compound through areas other than the front gates.
“If they can’t get it through the back door they would get it through the front door because behind some schools got bush and canefields and the boys will still go and find the weapons and still do what they want to do with them. So they got to deal with it all around. I don’t know what to tell the Minister of Education, I wish she good luck,” she added.
Joseph also noted that the management of some schools needed to effectively and efficiently settle grievances among students. She said one of her grandchildren told her that several complaints to a teacher that another student was threatening her had been unnoticed.
“But some of these teachers too does fear for their life because some of these school children are very aggressive. It is all about the blocks and this body don’t get along with this body and this body can’t pass that way. I understand because I lost a son [Lorenzo Joseph] from that earlier this year. He from Chapman Lane and he got shot in the Orleans,” Joseph said.
Barbados TODAY also caught up with former teacher and year head at Frederick Smith School Erlyn Toppin who holds the view that the violence being seen in schools started at home where she said some parents continuously shout at and beat children. Toppin said it was time many parents changed their attitudes towards their children.
“I guess we have waited until the horse has gotten out of the stable, so now we are waiting to put it back in. I guess all of us, we have waited too long. And we have to do something about it because we can’t have children losing their lives at school. It is frightening but we have to change our attitudes.
“We have to love them more and let them know that we love them and everything is not shouting and beating and when we give that we will get that back,” Toppin said.
Justin Smith, a father of three secondary school children told Barbados TODAY that parents must cooperate with education officials when it comes to addressing issues with the children at school. He explained that one of his children had been engaging in unruly behavior at school and he got the situation under control through working with the principal and staff at the institution.
“That is when she was in lower school. Now she is an older student and the teachers don’t have any problems with her because she knows that I am coming. We as parents have to realize that our children behave like angels at home and terrors at school,” Smith said.
Wendy Popo declared that the only items students should be taking to school are pens, pencils, books; any needed medication or other necessities. She said there was a need for school children to take their education seriously.
“Put the metal detectors to search the children’s bags is a good idea, don’t mind that some of them might hide weapons outside the school before them come in and then when them come out take it up and put it in them bag before they catch the bus.
“But right now them ain’t want the teachers lick the children. Them ain’t even want the parents to chastise the children. What happening now is the children getting out of hand. As you beat the children Child Care Board want to come for you. Society now getting out of hand but we got to hope for the best,” Popo said. [email protected]