Wilson: Time to get proactive about student violence
Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson is calling on the government and parents to be more proactive in the handling of violence among school-aged children, following the murder of 15-year-old Perry Rolle.
“My concern is, and I think it’s been this for a while, I believe that we are too reactive,” said Wilson in a recent interview.
“Whenever something happens, then everyone gets in a tizzy, and what we keep on trying to impress upon the ministry is that we should have policies to ensure that when matters like these arise, then you don’t have to look at what it is that you’re going to do because the policies and the process and the protocols would already be in place.”
Police said Rolle, a T.A. Thompson Junior High School student, was stabbed in the chest by a student from C.C. Sweeting Senior High School during a fight on Pitt Road.
“I would say to the minister of education, the minister of national security, the commissioner, I believe they need to get into a room and get on one page and then they should meet with stakeholders like the union,” Wilson continued.
“And I think too they also need to start tying in more of the parents into what it is that they are doing, because obviously there is a breakdown in some of the homes.
“So the parents need to know the importance of safety for their children.
“My understanding is, and it is just from media reports, that he may have had some concern or fear prior.
“So, whenever there is a report or there’s a concern or a matter of safety is raised, then it needs to be dealt with immediately.”
She added, “I also want to say to parents, the parents have to take a closer look at where their children are, who their children are with, what it is that they’re doing on social media. The parents have to take a more serious interest in the day-to-day activities of their children.”
The union president also called for renewed discussions on increased safety measures in schools.
“The other thing is, when we had some incidents years ago, we talked about the metal detectors, we talked about the perimeters of the schools being more secure. That has fallen by the wayside,” she said.
Asked whether she believes police should be on school campuses, Wilson said, “…The reality is guns have been found on school campuses, alcohol, knives, drugs, as in marijuana, cocaine, over many years.
“So, yes, the police being around the school, the police making contact or visits to the schools on a frequent basis, all that can do is solidify our safety, not only for the teachers but also for other students.”