Princes Town MP, Barry Padarath is today supporting the call from the PTA of Santa Rita Roman Catholic Primary School, for the immediate removal of Education Minister Anthony Garcia from his portfolio.
Padarath in a press release stated that the Minister’s comments surrounding the allegation of deviant and violent behaviour exhibited by a primary school student towards his peers and teachers demonstrated that the Minister was out of touch with the reality that exists in schools among the nation’s children. He questioned what information Garcia had in his possession by way of a report by the school district supervisor investigating the matter to warrant Garcia’s judgement on the matter. Padarath stated that his information was that there was none.
The MP indicated that a pattern was developing with Minister Garcia where he was making pronouncements of innocence regarding several instances of school violence, without having the facts before him. Padarath recalled that there has been several allegations of bullying at the nation’s schools where students have been hospitalised for severe injury and broken bones as a result of school violence. He accused Garcia of covering up the reality of escalating school violence by chalking it up to “rough play”.
Padarath further stated that on several occasions, he has called on the Minister of Education to put specific policies and guidelines in place by way of legislation to deal with the issue of school violence and bullying. The Minister has not responded to these calls and instead has indicated that there are sufficient existing laws to deal with deviant behaviour and school violence.
The Princes Town MP stated that he believed the issue of school violence and bullying will continue until the Minister wakes up from his slumber and confronts the reality of the present day situation in our classrooms. He indicated that while Garcia has served in the education system prior to being a Minister of Government, the challenges and complexities of our society is an evolving one and therefore Garcia needed to come to terms and familiarize himself with the issues that confront our country in the twenty first century. He added that the old school approach was not going to bring relief to this situation and that Garcia would be better served if he took the time to get a better appreciation of the matters and consult with those involved, before passing judgement of innocence or guilt based on his own personal feeling. He lamented that Garcia had also passed judgement recently on a teenage girl at the Mayaro Secondary School, who was beaten and subsequently became unconscious, without all the facts available to him. He further lamented that he hopes that it would not take the death of a child due to school violence and bullying before we can see action to address these problems.
Padarath commended the parents of the students of the Santa Rita Roman Catholic Primary school and other schools who have taken a stand on this issue and also joins in the calls for the immediate removal of Minister Garcia from office. The MP said, before one can deal with the problem one has to acknowledge there is a problem and Minister Garcia seems to be completely out of touch with reality in that he fails to acknowledge the serious issue of school violence in our country. He also added that the arrogant manner in which the Minister deals with the concerns of the stakeholders in the education sector is absolutely atrocious and called on Prime Minister Keith Rowley to immediately reign in, discipline and fire Garcia before he proceeds on his vacation holidays.