Signal Hill Secondary principal appeals for help

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Signal Hill Secondary School, Tobago. – File photo

“I need the help of everyone.”

This was the cry of principal of the Signal Hill Secondary School Arianne D’Abreau-Forde on Wednesday as the school hosted a stakeholder’s meeting at its Cecil Dalrymple auditorium.

Last Friday, one of the school’s students was stabbed in a classroom during a fracas. The Division of Education on Tuesday reported that the injured boy was in stable condition at the Scarborough hospital. A video of the incident went viral on social media.

D’Abreau-Forde, who recently assumed her post, said Signal Hill’s reputation was always one of excellence. She said she continues to build on that foundation with the assistance of the teachers.

“In that time, we have had many successes, but as things sometime go, we have also faced many challenges. One such challenge is indiscipline among some students. We have tried and continue to try our best to minimise indiscipline, with some success.”

She said the February 16 incident was not the norm at the school.

“We want to assure you that we have put things in place so that incidents like this would not happen again – at least as far as possible. We have recognised that no one person can do it alone and as principal, I need the help of all stakeholders.”

She said in this instance, the primary stakeholder who the institution needs to partner is the parents.

“Even Jesus Christ could not do it alone; he enlisted the help of 12 disciples. Let us think of the disciples as you the stakeholders – the parents, the students, the teachers, the safety officers, the security officers, the civil services staff, the communities, the past students, the PTA, the division of education, the ministry of education and the religious leaders.

“Long ago, the village looked out for the children on the streets. I want us to look back at those old community values to raise the children, to raise the students of Signal Hill Secondary School.”

She added: “Do not look to cast blame, instead, let each of us – each stakeholder – take responsibility for the raising of a child.”

Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection Dr Faith BYisrael, a Signal Hill alumni, said the school experienced a shock. She encouraged all the stakeholders present to continue being that village that raises the child.

Other speakers included Inspector Dexter Miller, head of the special victims unit of the TTPS, as well as social worker Shirleen James. Both are past students of the school.