Thursday, February 22, 2018

Rowley: We need special schools for violent children


NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOUR: People’s National Movement (PNM) political leader Dr Keith Rowley holds Kellyann Bailey as he exchanges greetings with former San Fernando city councilor Sharon Loney during a constituency meeting at Palo Seco Secondary School on Tuesday night. —Photo: TREVOR WATSON

Mark Fraser

THE fist fight among female pupils attending Mucurapo West Secondary School has angered political leader of the People’s National Movement (PNM), Dr Keith Rowley.

He said a PNM government would adopt a zero tolerance policy to violence in schools and he would encourage a system where pupils exhibiting violent behaviour would be extracted from the schools and placed in another environment.

Speaking at a public meeting in Palo Seco on Tuesday night, Rowley said the brawl, which was captured on video last Friday, “is normal and if that is what’s taking place in the schools, that and education don’t go together”.

He said the children involved in this could not be focused on learning, or be able to absorb what was being taught in school.

“And since that kind of thing is normal in the schools, tonight I am saying what I would like to see is a system where that kind of behaviour deprives you of the opportunity that you are abusing. And that you should be extracted from the environment in which you are behaving and put into another environment.”

Rowley said “special schools” would be prepared for these children.

“Special children are not only the ones who don’t see well, don’t hear well and who can’t walk well. Children who can’t behave well are also special children.”

The PNM, he said, would begin by establishing two special schools in North and South Trinidad. The children would be extracted from the secondary school system and placed in a controlled environment where they would be properly educated and prepared to be better citizens by trained teachers.

“If we don’t do that, the billions of dollars we are spending on the education system will flow down the drain and children would be passing through school, not learning anything.”

Rowley said the PNM was prepared to identify the problems and take action to solve them.

Rowley said parents who turned a blind eye to their children’s behaviour will also have to take responsibility.

He said the PNM would begin in the primary school system, spending additional resources and adjusting the curriculum to nurture young people “from the cradle”.

Ten female pupils have been suspended since the fight outside the school compound. The fight was recorded by a pupil using a cell phone.