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School killing a reflection of society, says TTUTA

Death of Renaldo Dixon

By Sue-Ann Wayow sue-ann.wayow@trinidadexpress.com

THE stabbing death of Renaldo Dixon at his school on Monday is reflective of the violent culture this country has developed, according to Peter Wilson, general secretary of  the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA).

Dixon, 14, was stabbed four times by his schoolmate at Waterloo Secondary School in Carapichaima.The suspect is a 16-year-old pupil who skipped his Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) exam to prepare and carry out the killing with a kitchen knife.

Wilson told the Express: “We have been pointing out all along that students are part of the society. We have unfortunately developed a culture of violence in the society and that, of course, is being reflected by the students.

 “The students come from communities where they are exposed to violent behaviour, incidents of crime and  the use of violence. Children grow up in this type of culture and therefore reflect that kind of behaviour. It is a problem for the whole society to deal with.”

Wilson said, in the past, TTUTA made several recommendations to the Education Ministry.

 “A number of recommendations have not been implemented in a consistent fashion and the Ministry needs to devote more resources in terms of implementing those recommendations.”

Wilson said the killing should be a “wake-up call” for the Ministry  to implement “hard and soft measures”.

 Hard measures, he said, referred to beefed-up security  and police patrols and soft measures would include proper training and counselling programmes.

 “Priority must be given to ensure an incident like this does not occur again,” he said.

Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh blamed the “failed family support system” for Dixon’s death.

Gopeesingh said: “We want the parents to take some responsibility of their children’s behaviour. They must take charge as well to prevent their children from getting involved in those types of fights. Look after your children. Instil in them a proper sense of values and self-worth and self-esteem and encourage them not to go down a path of dysfunctional behaviour.”

He also said people in communities need to intervene “if they see abnormal student behaviour on the streets”. 

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