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TEACHER FEARS AS PRINCIPAL ATTACKED: Head of LW Young struck on head during altercation

LW Young Junior High School yesterday. Photo: Donavan McIntosh/Tribune Staff

LW Young Junior High School yesterday. Photo: Donavan McIntosh/Tribune Staff

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BUT president Belinda Wilson.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson said the safety of teachers at public schools in the country continues to be a concern, insisting teachers everyday witness violence on campuses and at times have suffered physical harm.

Mrs Wilson raised alarm after telling The Tribune yesterday that LW Young Junior High School’s principal was involved in an argument with two students and was slapped by one of them during the ordeal.

Hours later, she said, a student was hit in the head with a rock, adding that the attacker  allegedly had a knife.

The injured student was taken to hospital by ambulance and the matter was reported to the police, she said.

However, Education Director Marcellus Taylor had a different version of both events, when he was contacted yesterday.

Mr Taylor said L W Young’s principal was attempting to calm an angry student when the student in a fit of rage formed a fist and swung at the principal, “grazing” the administrator’s forehead in the process.

 “The first incident resulted with a student who, for whatever reason, lost her anger and we think that the student has some kind of internal challenge,” he said in a telephone interview with The Tribune. “She reacted inappropriately and because she reacted inappropriately the principal was moving her away from the crowd and taking her to the office to try and calm her down. She was still in this kind of violent fit and in the process she pulled away from the principal and she closed her fist and swung at the principal, sort of grazing the principal on her forehead with her fist.”

 Mr Taylor said the student’s parents were called, along with police and the matter is under control.

 The student will face an appropriate punishment once officials view the report of the incident and come to a determination as to what is best.

As for the second incident, Mr Taylor said a male student of L W Young received a head injury when another student from a different school threw a rock at him.

He said the aggressor has a history of behavioural issues and is challenged with socialising with other students.

The injured student was taken to hospital and “should be fine”, Mr Taylor said.

Regardless of what transpired, Mrs Wilson is of the view that a comprehensive policing plan is overdue. She pointed to another incident at Eight Mile Rock High, in Grand Bahama, where a teacher who attempted to part a fight between students sustained injury to one of her eyes and has been referred to an eye specialist.

Additionally she said weeks ago there were several incidents of violence involving students in close proximity to C C Sweeting Senior High School.

“There is definitely a need for focused attention for our students especially the at-risk ones. The support, mentoring and programs must be sustainable not just for show,” she said yesterday.

“It must have various components that support students’ education, work opportunities and social services. There has to be a major push to influence parents to take a more proactive role in the nurturing of their children.”

The BUT president said the union continues to wait for the school policing plan.

“There is always the concern of safety on school campuses and that is why the Bahamas Union of Teachers agreed to the police in school which would help to quell crime and violence on and around school campuses. We have yet to receive the comprehensive school policing plan.

“Sadly, teachers are witnessing incidents of violence on a daily basis not only involving L W Young students but it is all over.”

In late March, National Security Minister Wayne Munroe said police officers were returned to public schools, nearly a week after concerns were reignited about school safety following a stabbing at AF Adderley Junior High.

At the time several officers were assigned to nine different public schools in New Providence in view of the incident.

Among them were AF Adderley Junior High, CH Reeves Junior High, Government High School, RM Bailey Senior High, CC Sweeting Senior High, CV Bethel Senior High School and Doris Johnson Senior High.

It came after a student was stabbed at AF Adderley in what officials believe may have been a gang related attack.

A 13-year-old boy was charged in connection with the incident.

Mr Taylor noted the placement of police officers in schools and said there was consideration of bringing in additional officers to other schools.

“There is additional work being done to train these officers into what they call school resource officers who operate slightly differently than lets say ordinary police might operate.

“It’s not a matter of them going into the schools to get criminals. It’s a matter of being in schools to ensure everything is orderly and to help schools that may have these additional challenges to kind of comply and conform so the training is different and that will be dealt with during the course of the summer months.

“Plans are being made for that and the extent for which we have success for that programme will determine how much more it spreads across New Providence and even in Grand Bahama.”

However, Mr Taylor said he did not think the situation required the same approach at this time for Family Island schools.

Comments

bahamianson 3 months, 1 week ago

Hold on , they all need a good cut tail. In my day, even if you were made at a student, you automatically calmed down when you saw a teacher much less the principal. She took it to another level when she swung at the principal. She and her parents need to see a psychologist.

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KapunkleUp 3 months, 1 week ago

These growing number of incidents are sad on so many levels. All said and done, it's the parents who are ultimately to blame for this state of affairs. Parents need to be held responsible for their kids behavior.

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Sickened 3 months, 1 week ago

I usually agree with blaming the parents but in this case I can't. A kids anger issue is something that I dealt with personally as a kid and it had nothing to do with the home - normal two parent home, parental love and all that. For me it wasn't even puberty - it was earlier than that - I just had uncontrollable rage which unleashed itself under fairly specific circumstances. I would literally black out (not in the sense of passing out) and come too in the act of complete rage. Thankfully I never had a stick or rock in my hand at the time, but I remember the look of terror of the people around me when i came too, and I was horrified that I could have killed someone in those few moments of lost time. After literally trying to attack my sister through my father I decided myself that I needed to get this under control before I seriously harmed someone (and most likely myself, because I was a tiny child). It took a lot of introspective, which was hard at such a young age, and I finally figured out at what point in a conflict I had to walk away. At first conflicts ended with me just crying from extreme anger (which is better than fighting). But that was too embarrassing so I learned to walk away as soon as I even sensed a conflict in the making. Even now I use the same technique because I know that rage is just below the surface.

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GodSpeed 3 months, 1 week ago

Investigate into the homes and families (if there even is one) that these students are coming from, guaranteed it's a complete mess. The parents are usually just as dysfunctional and have no business reproducing in the first place.

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DiverBelow 3 months, 1 week ago

Anger Management is the ultimate issue!!! It is a common matter of learning what are socially acceptable means of anger releases. Children today do not have the required Physical Education classes & sport participation at young enough ages to satisfy the natural releases needed in their growing bodies. Add to this need, the heavy influences of social media's acceptance & lack of consequences for Gangster Bad Behavior. REASONABLE corporal punishment is the only means to counter this attitude,... in wildfires one must stop feeding a fire with controld burning of the fuel. My Headmaster put the fear of God in my 11yr old arse..

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Cobalt 3 months, 1 week ago

Well…. spare the rod, spoil the child. Today’s youth are being raised to think that there are no consequences for unacceptable behavior (thus the high crime rate). The school system has become a farming ground for future criminal behavior. Parents don’t properly raise nor discipline their children; then they send their rude, disgusting children to school to wreak havoc while impeding the educational growth of others. And to make matters worst, these very same parents have the audacity to confront school administrators and teachers when disciplinary measures are carried out. It’s time for the Ministry of Education to set the bar as it relates to student behavior. Just imagine; students not interested in education simultaneously preventing others from learning. It’s time for the Ministry of Education to rid the school system of this cancer. If students and parents are unwilling to adhere to the rules and Code of Conduct set forth by the school, then they should be expelled. The government need to reevaluate and reinitiate the Boys/Girls Industrial School. Put these unruly children in boot camp. Nip the problem in the bud. These proactive measures will assist in reducing the number of future criminal behavior.

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Emilio26 3 months, 1 week ago

Cobalt I think the government should put unruly deliquent kids in Carlos Reid's Shock Treatment program that are being a menace to their teachers and parents.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 1 week ago

"Taylor said L W Young’s principal was attempting to calm an angry student when the student in a fit of rage formed a fist and swung at the principal, “grazing” the administrator’s forehead in the process."

How is that different from being attacked? These officials need to stop with this whitewashing of everything acknowledge the depth of the priblem and address it. Ratger than wasting 60k on Rodney find 600k and get some real experts and a real plan. Good news PR is not productivity or effectiveness

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zemilou 3 months, 1 week ago

Unfortunately, this kind of violence is not unique to The Bahamas. Fortunately, successful violence prevention programs have been implemented by school districts or, in countries like The Bahamas with a unified public education system, government agencies. Such programs include:

Individual school-level actions such as teams trained to address violence, appropriate teacher training in positive discipline and ways to defuse potential violence, clear, enforceable violence prevention policies, and, perhaps most important, classes that include simulations for students starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Children must be taught life skills which include safe behavior, how to protect themselves from abuse, and how to have difficult conversations when they disagree with each other. Students must be involved in developing programs, as they know best why violence perpetrated by youth occurs and where and can help come up with workable solutions.

On the national level violence prevention and conflict resolution must be part of the MOE's curriculum. If necessary, design BJC and BGCSE exams for the program. Surveys must be conducted -- on teachers, students, parents, social workers/counselors, pastors, etc -- to have concrete evidence on which to develop such programs. Once programs are implemented, they must be monitored and evaluated for effectiveness so they can be fine-tuned for optimum success. Teachers must be trained, and violence mitigation/prevention professionals must be readily available in all school communities. Where appropriate community organizations exist, partner with them (e.g., mentoring, after-school programs). Parenting classes designed to improve parenting skills must be offered. Gone are the days of intergenerational households where grandparents were around to counsel. After all, parenting is one job we aren't trained to take on.

As with anything else, this requires money. However, violence is -- and always has been -- a serious problem in our society. However, as our population grows, as gang affiliations increase, as a sense of coherent community continues to breakdown, as families spend more time on their smartphones and less with each other, as weapons become more dangerous and proliferate, etc, etc, the problem will only continue to grow. Unfortunate, but reality. It's time to stop wringing hands and pointing fingers and come up with meaningful strategies for addressing this unfortunate challenge.

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DiverBelow 3 months, 1 week ago

You are correct in stating it is common to many countries, as is the need to budget appropriate resources. Unfortunately governments would rather pay for the encarceration of populations instead of providing the resources for services you mentioned. Case in point Florida would rather pay $65,000 per prisoner (1980) than the same to educate 30 kids x 8hrs x 44 weeks, teachers pay! They say the retirement community does not want to pay for education a second time around. I say it is politicians without foresight or cohones!

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John 3 months, 1 week ago

Experts had warned that as they come out of the pandemic, children who have been curfew and lockdowns will demonstrate strange and unusual behaviors and it will be laced with violence. Other behaviors will include bed wetting, anxiety attacks, being withdrawn or otherwise out of one’s normal character.. . They also talk as SBS or scattered brain syndrome that is a long term effect of Covid in adults. Persons tend to forget simple things like where they live or work, family members or their names or usual everyday chores and events. Some resort to unusual behaviors like stripping naked in public or in front of family members, having conversations with imaginary people or becoming flustered or upset for no reason. They don’t know if the condition is temporary, long term or permanent. . . And another issue that is going on but not getting much attention is the number of persons, mostly older people who have taken Covid vaccines and have seizures and’heart attacks’. These seizures or attacks are usually fatal and occurs without notice. Several have occurred over the past few days and all the victims succumbed,

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sheeprunner12 3 months, 1 week ago

“Plans are being made for that and the extent for which we have success for that programme will determine how much more it spreads across New Providence and even in Grand Bahama.” However, Mr Taylor said he did not think the situation required the same approach at this time for Family Island schools.

The reality is that violence occurs at many Family Island schools as well ............. The unions AND the MOE top brass need to be honest and face up to the reality of ALL schools in this country. The reality is that MOST schools have violence-related management issues. It is just being covered up OR lost in the other garbage on social media.

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birdiestrachan 3 months, 1 week ago

From this report. those children are out of control and their parents are responsible. for them This is all very sad.

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longgone 3 months, 1 week ago

Think what these kids are going to be like when they grow up----The Good Lord help us all!!

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