Education Minister: Rose Hill RC incident traumatised students, teachers

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly speaks at YTEPP’s graduation ceremony at the Queen’s Park Oval. Photo by Narissa Fraser

EDUCATION Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly says while hearing gunshots near the Rose Hill RC School is not new, the most recent occurrence has left teachers and students of the school traumatised.

She was speaking at a Youth Training Employment and Partnership Programme (YTEPP) graduation ceremony at the Queen’s Park Oval on Friday morning.

On Monday, gunmen from Argyle Street, Gonzales, tried to enter Richardson Lane, Laventille. A ten-minute shootout resulted. No one was injured or killed.

But videos were circulated on social media – and went viral – of children at Rose Hill RC Primary School, Le Coulle Street, Laventille Road, being told by teachers to take cover during the gunfight.

The school will reopen on Monday.

Gadsby-Dolly said, “(Teachers and students at that school) are not disaccustomed (sic) to hearing gunshots in that area, you know.

“So if they were traumatised to that extent, you can imagine what it was like.”

She said she was listening to a radio talk show when a caller said police can’t be everywhere and predict what everyone will do at all times, to which she agreed.

“There are two sides to a coin,” she said.

She said while police have a role and duty, “What are we to do about people (and) our community members?

“What are we to do about the choices that we make and how we handle conflict and frustration?”

She said this country is facing difficult times “not only financially, but you are seeing the level of violence in our communities…”

She referred to a murder-suicide on Friday morning in which 42-year-old teacher Keisha Bostic was killed by her estranged husband in San Fernando. This happened metres away from the Anstey Memorial Girls’ Anglican School.

She urged the graduates, who are now certified in hair braiding, weaving and barbering, to make the right decisions and be upstanding members of their communities.

The 139 graduates are from Beetham Gardens, Maloney and Chaguanas.

“It’s not easy in our country, it’s not easy in our world, but that does not mean there are not good things happening.”

She told the graduates they have a chance to be “shining lights.

“We don’t want communities where children are scared and hiding under tables in school. That is not the community we want.”

She said the types of communities needed are those with people who “take the opportunities presented to them and change their lives.”