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Education minister: First business is police in schools

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Jerome Fitzgerald

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

MINISTER of Education, Jerome Fitzgerald said yesterday his first order of business as minister was to return police officers to public schools.

Speaking to The Tribune before his first Cabinet meeting, Mr Fitzgerald said the safety and security of the future leaders of the Bahamas were his top priority.

"That is going to be first and foremost. We will bring discipline back in the school. There will be a zero tolerance for any sort of misbehavior and violence.

"We are going to make sure the students are in an environment where they are going to learn - an environment of respect, discipline and order," he said.

"We have a lot of plans. I have been in meetings for the last two days and we have meetings scheduled for the next two to three days to make sure everyone is on board and understands what we have to do from here on.

"We have put together a technical team within the Ministry of Education to make sure we are able to measure our success. I am very excited and pleased with the support from within the ministry and I am sure we will be able to fulfill the mandate we put forward."

Mr Fitzgerald said an announcement on when police will be returned will be made shortly.

In 2003, the PLP formed the School Policing Unit that involved strategically placing police officers in the public schools. In 2007, under the new FNM government the programme was stopped and cancelled.

However, it was eventually replaced with a community policing approach which stationed officers outside schools during the peak hours of 7am to 9am and 3pm to 5pm.

Mr Fitzgerald reiterated his administration's promise to double the nation's investment in education and training of Bahamians, from pre school all the way up to those already in the workforce.

According to Prime Minister Perry Christie, doubling the investment in education would amount to an increase of $22 million per year or $110 million over the next five years.

Comments

Arob 10 years, 4 months ago

High schools as remand centres. Go all the way.....What about the metal detector? drug testing?

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welly 10 years, 4 months ago

What's the point? If teachers were trained correctly to control a class and enforce a suitable level of discipline there would be no need for this at all. The police should be out patrolling and ready to respond to street crime as it occurs. The kids don't respect the police let alone the teachers. If they know that at the end of the day that there are little or no repercussions for their actions then the disruptive behavior will continue.

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concernedcitizen 10 years, 4 months ago

if the kids were brought up right w/ daddys in the home we wouldn,t need this ,,remember this could be part of doubling the school budget ,,its 300mil now ,,whats another 300mil cheap price to pay for national babysitting ,NOT..../

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notsogullible 10 years, 4 months ago

I speak as a teacher in our "I don't need an education" mentality high schools. Our students have NOTHING to aspire to where they need an education. Most students are also spewing out the "hand-me-out" mentality where they think like this: 1) I know someone who knows someone who knows another who knows the MP really well so I don't have to worry about qualifying for a job. 2) the latest - I am from a PLP family so my job awaits whenever I choose to show up over the next five years 3) My grand-aunt or my uncle is a stalworth counsellor so I have nothing to stress about 4) My auntie works at Atlantis so I straight ... and the reasons for not having to learn goes on. Oh I forgot the best one "Teach I could make in one night what you make for the month so why you stressing me" and the list goes on and on.

AND as long as the parents have no interest in their child's education (that's 80% of them) there is nothing the teachers or schools or government can do to convince them otherwise. And parents are not interested because they are waiting on the MP or the government to hand out something to them. Case in point - I had a class the other day where 25% of the students showed up with nothing to write with, yet, they were adorned with Clarke shoes, Kipling back packs, Tommy belts and the stiffest Docker shirts and pants you'll ever lay eyes on - yes, and they were all boys.

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welly 10 years, 4 months ago

What a ridiculous situation! We've stripped teachers of all their powers of authority - now have to pay to police the schools. Surely, the first thing we need is to reinstate support for teachers with a power for them to take action against pupils who are unruly or break the law? Discipline is the answer, but there is none and why? Because you mustn't smack naughty children, you mustn't have corporal punishment in schools, you must help the unruly ones by giving them free holidays. At what point do those with any sense say we have had enough and revert back to common sense?

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notsogullible 10 years, 4 months ago

WELL SAID and completely accurate!!!!!

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spoitier 10 years, 4 months ago

You and I got knock around if we didn't behave but we had manners, the kids in these days doesn't have any manners and they also have guns, so i wouldn't advise a teacher to knock around kids in these days.

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concernedcitizen 10 years, 4 months ago

i know i dated a teacher at C R Walker once . she was here from costa rica teaching french and spanish ,,she said of the 800 students only 200 could read at a 6th grade level .the other 600 could not read at all..the students that did the best were the Hatian children ,,sad... i use to pick her up in my old work truck ,one day i took my dads nice new car ,,my God the girls rushed the car ,,same guy different car ,,they just thought i came into money ..timothy mccartneys book ..nerosies under the sun ,,said it all about our males ,,sorry don,t know how to spell nerosies

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concernedcitizen 10 years, 4 months ago

welly that sounds good ,but these children would gang and kill the teachers and some of thier parents would help ..every new school year on the island i live ,when the kids get sent home for uniform violations ,,in the local bar that night the parents want to beat up the teachers and head master ,,every year with out fail

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notsogullible 10 years, 4 months ago

Again, so very accurate - even the details. We don't often hear people outside of the system supporting teachers but to know that there are people out there that actually knows the truth and are willing to talk about what teachers experience is quite vindicating.

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Ironvelvet 10 years, 4 months ago

It all comes down to parenting and a child's sense of self worth. How about parenting classes? Sure, they all aren't going to show up and you can't force them to, but if you reach one that's plenty. How about counselors for parents? Not just counselors for children.

Children with a sense of self worth no matter how poor don't grow up wanting to get whatever hand out they get from their MP or their aunt who works at Atlantis. They grow up wanting something for themselves, for their country.

Yes, its a different generation. Yes, we grow up in a celebrated ghetto culture. I had an American friend ask me once, "Am I ghetto because I live in the project?" I said, "No, you're poor that's why you live in the projects." Being poor should not be synonymous with ghetto. Poor is a way of life, ghetto is a mentality. Let's teach our children they shouldn't aspire to be 'ghetto' no matter their circumstances.

Police in schools....ever watch the movie 'Lean on Me'? Kick those bad eggs out! Make kids want to behave so they can be in school. I know that's harsh, but its reality. Most of them are graduating with certificates not diplomas anyway. Teach them the way of the world, its an unforgiving place. Those kicked out should be made to automatically report to juvenile detention.

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concernedcitizen 10 years, 4 months ago

good points ,when i was young we didn,t have much ,but my mother would not tolerate ghetto .both my parents worked hard and by my teens we were middle class ,but my folks didn,t lose thier values because of the good fortune and instilled t he old common sense values in me and my sisters

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perspective 10 years, 4 months ago

I HAVE BEEN CRITICIZING THE PLP LEGITIMATELY ON OTHER ISSUES........BUT I LOVE MR. FITZGRALD'S IDEA.......DISCIPLINE IN SCHOOLS IS BADLY NEEDED. SCHOOLS MUST BE RESTORED TO A PLACE OF LEARNING.

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Arob 10 years, 4 months ago

Schools are about education. Discipline is taught at home and through participation in groups such as Boy Scouts, Pathfinders etc. The police will not be involved in discipline, unless the officer is willing to be sued. Check the Education Act.

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bri 10 years, 4 months ago

What you meant to say was discipline SHOULD be taught at home. Unfortunately that is not happening. It is not fair that teachers should have to interrupt the learning process in order to discipline someone's extraordinarily unruly child. Police may not be able to discipline, but i assure you their prescence will deter the majority of the trouble makers. Teachers have been abused far to long. Some kids can be disciplined by the educators, but their is a different generation of teenagers out there that need tougher discipline, Most teachers are female and some grade 11 and 12 students are bigger in statue than they are. Let the teachers teach and the police deal with the trouble makers.

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tell_the_truth 10 years, 4 months ago

Please...... Police deal with CRIME not discipline!!!

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concernedcitizen 10 years, 4 months ago

we wouln,t need police in the schools if we had repsonsable fathers in the home or any fathers at all . i know many young men with small children at home that are more concerned about sweethearting than there own home...

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tell_the_truth 10 years, 4 months ago

Placing police in schools is a waste of government resources. There are very few incidences in schools that need police intevention. When police is needed they are called in. Please focus on more pressing needs in education like illiteracy. Students, many times act up out of frustration of not coping educationally. Decrease class size so that teachers can meet students at their point of need.

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