A concerned parent is expressing serious reservations about the safety of her daughter and niece who are both students of the Frederick Smith Secondary School. One of the children was close to the scene where 16-year-old Temario Holder was murdered by another student.
And Roberta Sealy is calling for Government to place soldiers in secondary schools to protect students and teachers.
Sealy who told Barbados TODAY that her child has related that she has nightmares about the bloody incident, while her niece has been asking her mother not to send her back to the Trents, St James institution. The parent said it was high time that security was beefed up at Frederick Smith and all other schools across the island.
“If we don’t start now, we in trouble. We are in a crisis now. They need to put soldiers in the school. The children ain’t frightened for the teachers; them ain’t frightened for the principal for sure, and them ain’t frighten for the police. The only body that these young people really frightened for now is the soldiers.
“If I was Prime Minister [Mia] Mottley, I would put the soldiers in the schools. We got enough soldiers, and don’t send them without them guns. Send them and show them this is what ya’ll asked for,” she said.
“If you put the soldiers in the schools you would see a drastic turnaround, because if you don’t start doing something like today, we will have more mothers and fathers crying,” she said.
On Monday, following a meeting with education stakeholders, including teachers of Frederick Smith, Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw said when students return to school on Friday, hand-held metal detectors may be used to carry out searches.
But Sealy is saying the time has gone for scanners, which in her opinion would not be enough. She said students were likely to hide weapons off the school premises.
“They need to put cameras in the schools too so they could monitor. You know how big Frederick Smith is? The first day I went to that school I did huffing and puffing though. It is big. If you had cameras you could have avoided this too because somebody would be there monitoring the cameras,” she added.
Sealy, a mother of three, who said she was grieving with Holder’s family over their tragic loss, indicated that she was of the view that the incident should have never happened.
The mother said she was also struggling to come to grips with the fact that when the emergency bell rang, teachers ordered students to close windows and shut doors, leaving some children outside the classroom.
“The teacher told my daughter that was in the class along with the rest of the students, don’t open the door but other little children out there pounding on the door [to enter] and these are first formers I talking about you know.
The parent said she believed that reopening the school this week was too soon for the hundreds of tramautised students and teachers.
“It happened right at her [Sealy’s niece] class door and that is why she don’t want to go back to school. Tell me how am I supposed to help her? You think that five minutes of talking could stop this trauma that some of these children experienced?
“You know how it is to be a mother and you at home thinking your child alright and then you get the phone call that your child ain’t alright? You know how much times my daughter come home and tell me ‘mummy this fight happen, that fight happen. And serious fights, no play fights.
“So tell me how the Government will protect my child when I thinking my child alright? I don’t know how these children will be able to concentrate with all of these different tests that coming up now.”
As the 41-year-old vented her frustration, she said it was time that all parents started looking into their children behaviour and make required adjustments before it was too late.
Sealy said more parents also needed to send their children to church where they would be taught strong Christian morals and values.
“What we accept makes a difference in these children lives. What we let them watch, what we let them listen to, what we let them play makes a difference. This is not the time for us to be soft on these children.
“If parents don’t want the soldiers around their children, tell them train them from at home. It is not teachers’ responsibilities to teach good manners and respect for people to children,” Sealy said.
The mother said she agreed with Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw that broken children in the school system needed to be exposed to intense counselling sessions and evaluations, facilitated by psychiatrists and psychologists.
She indicated that she also wants to see flogging returned to schools.
“And not only the headmaster flogging, all the teachers flogging. This [problem] stems from them taking way the rights of the teacher to flog any child at all. They take away prayers and all of these things that use to help keep we.
“I am saying to any right-thinking parent, keep watch on your children. Make your children your first priority, pray for your children.”