Don't ban camera phones in schools, says Tim

FLASHBACK: A camera phone recorded of a fight involving school children in east Trinidad.

Students who think they can get away “unscathed” when their fights move out of the school compound and into public spaces may need to think again.

Education Minister Anthony Garcia says the Ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of National Security and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service to come up with a “strategic” initiative that will treat with students who fight in public “in the same way that persons out of uniform would be treated”.

He said as security and vigilance in schools has been ramped up, instances of disobedience have migrated outside of the school.

“…they will be addressed and dealt with accordingly,” Garcia warned in a statement on Monday.

“It must be noted that while the Ministry of Education is responsible for a student while in uniform and will maintain the responsibilities associated, students who engage in and inflict physical harm on to another person can and will face the accompanying penalties that come with such actions,” he noted.

Garcia’s latest statement comes on the heels of a viral video of a fight among students in Sangre Grande last week.

“Recently, I made a public appeal to parents and citizens to be more vigilant and involved in the activities of the nation’s students outside of the school compound. I make this subsequent statement, after seeing the behaviour displayed by students in an altercation that has now gone viral on social media,” he said.

“The fracas that took place on the afternoon of Friday 15th February, 2019, in Sangre Grande, reinforces that much more has to be done within the community to address the challenges that we, as a nation are facing,” Garcia pointed out.

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He said the goal of the collaboration with the TTPS and the Ministries is not to turn communities into a police state but to get young people to understand that at every level- in the home, school and community- their safety and that of the people around them is of paramount importance.

“Students who engage in acts of what can only be deemed as assault must understand that their actions come with consequences, and a student who is victimised must also have some form of redress for whatever they may have had to endure,” Garcia said.

He said within the coming weeks, more information on the collaborative initiative will be shared with the public.

He said: “…however, at this time, I want the public to know and understand that these fights and matters of indiscipline will be addressed with the seriousness and severity of punishment that are aligned to the actions.”

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