Region 5 RDC calls on Education Dept to address school violence
The Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) has called on the Regional Education Department to address the escalating violence in schools throughout the region.
The call was made following a recent incident at Belladrum Secondary School.
Violence in schools is increasingly becoming a challenge for those managing the education system to the extent that those responsible for security have gotten involved and are also finding it difficult to handle.
Region Five was considered one of the more peaceful regions as it relates to violence in schools but this is no longer the case.
Councillor Emerson Benjamin highlighted the issue while pointing out that the Police were called in to Belladrum Secondary after the issues escalated.
After a recent RDC meeting, Benjamin told Guyana Times that he witnessed some of the violence being perpetrated at school.
He explained that he received a telephone call from a friend who requested that he pick up her brother from school because she was scared to go due to a gang-related fight.
The official related that there was one main perpetrator who is known to the Police. Law enforcement officers have gone to the school on numerous occasions and the child would escape.
“When I asked about him, they said he would have just come off of suspension. We need to take a stern stance against these children.”
“With this one student, he might push someone to retaliate; maybe a parent or even a teacher because they would not take chances with him. They need to put systems in schools, not only Belladrum but all the schools because we see what is happening in schools throughout the country and like it is catching on,” he said.
Commenting on the issue of violence in schools, Regional Education Officer Deon-Lyn Lewis-Clark said the department needs help in tackling the issue.
“We need help in our schools with the rise of violence. They did a random search at schools… Parents search your kids’ bags; why are they going with a knife, plyers; they are no electrician or technician – search their bags,” she pleaded.
Lewis-Clark, who was at the time addressing a father’s forum, said on a daily occasion education officials have to leave their desks to attend to reports of violence at school. Children, she added, should not be fighting at any level.
“They should not be stabbing each other and chopping each other, kids should be having a good time with their colleagues.”
She took the opportunity to call on fathers to have frequent conversations with their school-age children, especially their sons. Only recently, several schools in Georgetown had to end classes prematurely after several gang fights erupted. In fact, at one school, an air gun was seized from a male student.
Ever since, the Guyana Police Force has launched an initiative to search students before or after entering the schools’ compounds. In several instances, items such as scissors, knives, ice picks, and other harmful weapons were confiscated.