Princes Town MP, Barry Padarath has called for the Ministry of Education to implement Anti Bullying measures in our nation’s schools. Padarath said he was deeply disturbed to read of an incident involving nine year old Tristan Khan at the Mayaro Government Primary School where the child’s arm was broken and stomped on by another student.
Padarath said he was concerned by the comments of the parents of Tristan that they were advised by school officials not to report the incident to the Police. The MP indicated that in Trinidad and Tobago, bullying was a serious problem and that children were now manifesting through their actions what they are seeing happening in the wider society.
He said that there must be repercussions for one’s actions and that sweeping this matter under the rug was not going to solve the problem. Padarath indicated that this incident was not an isolated one and that there has been reports of bullying in several of our nation’s schools.
Padarath who established an Anti-bullying Awareness campaign when coming into office in September of 2015, continues to be an advocate for the cause. He stated that the Ministry of Education has a responsibility to provide a safe environment for our children at school and therefore as an immediate measure to deal with this issue, they should establish Anti bullying policies and recommendations on how to treat with the issue.
The Princes Town MP believed that this is also a long term measure to deal with the escalating crime situation in terms of identifying and treating with deviant behaviour, he believes to ignore it and allow it to grow in the school system without addressing the issue will have greater implications later on. He added that bullying in schools were severely unreported and called on the Ministry to provide support to the victims as well.
He further called for the Ministry to address the role of schools in preventing bullying, recommendations or general rules for improving overall school climate, the consequences of bullying behaviour, intervention at a school level, intervention at a class level and personal intervention.
Padarath stated that he believed that the time was now for the national dialogue to take place on whether parents should be held accountable for their children’s actions. He called on the Attorney General and the Prime Minister to consider bringing to the Parliament a Parental Responsibility Act. He said while there were laws to protect the rights of the child, there must also be laws that takes responsibility for their actions.
He lamented that several reports showed that the majority of persons involved in gun related crimes and murders were disadvantaged young men and that this was just one measure to holistically deal with a growing trend of progressive deviant behaviour in young people.
Padarath indicated that he believes a Parental Responsibility Act would force changes in the society that is much needed and help to curb the number of young people turning to a life of crime. He further stated that if we wanted to see results, we needed to change the way that we do things and the Parental Responsibility Act would be one of those measures to force change.