Haynes: Violence spilling out of schoolyards on to streets

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes. File photo

TABAQUITE MP Anita Haynes has said with school violence out of the schoolyards and into the streets, more is needed from the Ministry of Education to address the issue.

She said in a statement, “The ministry must introduce proactive measures and implement targeted interventions to address school indiscipline and violence.

“This also includes specific plans for high-risk schools in addition to a violent incident protocol to minimise risks of trauma to the student population.”

Her statement follows an incident recorded in a video which was circulated online where a girl in a red and white school uniform was seen holding a knife and another girl, in the same uniform, was seen holding her face, apparently bleeding and injured from the attack.

The incident took place near Poonwassie Gardens, Williamsville.

Haynes also said there was need to provide students with a safe space to seek refuge and make reports.

“In addition to the introduction of age-appropriate interventions targeting conflict resolution and emotional regulation, students must have access to safe reporting structures so that interventions can be made before situations escalate into violence.”

She also condemned the minister’s “superficial” response.

“What is particularly concerning is the minister’s simple assertion that instances of student violence outside of school are police matters.

“While this is true, there ought to be an immediate course of action taken at the school, spearheaded by the ministry. This should include counselling, anger management sessions and increased support services for all students as well as additional security screening for dangerous items.”