‘Boy/girl school’ remains an option for violent children – Manickchand

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Minister of Education Priya Manickchand has issued a stern warning for children who may want to engage in violent behaviour in schools, noting that the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) – a juvenile correctional facility on the Essequibo Coast in Region Two – is an option for them to continue their education.

Manickchand said violence in schools will not be tolerated and that the ministry does not take it lightly.

The warning comes after a 16-year-old schoolboy was severely beaten by his classmate on March 17. Jaheim Straker, a fourth-form student of the Silvercity Secondary School in Linden, suffered a fractured skull and had to undergo brain surgery.

Straker was discharged from hospital and has been recovering well.

“I want to say to children very, very firmly, that kind of behaviour is not going to be tolerated, we would be prepared to use the law to remove children who are a threat to other children even as we ensure they are being educated and there are facilities for that.

“So, you could go to [New Opportunity Corps] and receive an education as is your constitutional right but not be a threat to other children,” Minister Manickchand told the media on Friday.

Parents were also warned and the Education Minister advised them to “talk to your children about what is expected when they are in school or in their school uniform.”

While the ministry is still deciding on what “appropriate action” to take against the student who put his classmate in the hospital, the investigation into the incident has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice.

“I hope that body (DPP) acts urgently and swiftly and please note I am not telling them what to do,” Minister Manickchand said.

Manickchand revealed that they are also seeing an increase in violent behaviour in schools.

These “antisocial behaviour” she explained is predicted by studies around the world and could possibly be a consequence of the two years closure of schools and children being unsupervised.

“We are seeing more – I don’t know if I feel comfortable saying more incidences – but we are seeing more visibility of violence in schools or amongst school children, even if not in schools,” Manickchand said.

She further revealed that the policy to deal with violence may also be outdated and as such “we are having a relook at it with an entire mapping out as to what is to be done if any of this kind of behaviour happens.”

 

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