Public Vote Of No Confidence In Our Minister Of Education, Honorable Anthony Garcia
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Since 2014, a report commissioned by the Citizen Security
Programme and Ministry of Education on Bullying on Schools had been done indicated that 98.4% of students indicated that they had experienced one or more forms of bullying or victimization within their last term. Measures taken in 2015 to reduce school violence by then education minister Tim Gopeesingh included:
- Security officers for all schools
- Student support services which constitute guidance counsellors, guidance officers and school social workers with educational, behavioural and clinical psychologists
- Over 280 remedial teachers and close to 300 substitute teachers in primary and secondary schools
- Establishment of a Circle of Hope where students have a special session on a weekly basis where they speak with teachers on issues
- Implementation of a system where motivational speakers visit schools to have chats with children
- Formation of a Parenting Academy
- Security officers have two hand-held scanners in secondary schools
- Several schools installed with CCTV Cameras
Source: Ministry of Education 2015
When the Honorable Anthony Garcia, Minister of Education of Trinidad and Tobago took up his post, school violence still was a pressing issue requiring continued intervention. Even worse, incidents of inappropriate sexual behavior on school premises, and rates of teen pregnancy and STDs were also at worrying rates.
Today, we are faced with a new incident of school violence almost every week. Parents are protesting, fearful for the safety of their children in school. Principals are begging for support to deal with students exhibiting out of control behavior. This week, in response to a teenager beaten into an unconscious state by classmates of the Mayaro Secondary School last Tuesday, Minster Garcia blamed the victim. This has not been the first time, the Minster's response to these issues have demonstrated a lack of awareness and elicited accusations of him being out of touch and a dinosaur out of his depth. While we respect his involvement in the creation of a White Paper on Education all the way back in 1989 which touched on the subject of school violence, THIS IS 2017! We need dynamic, innovative, connected and capable leadership. We need policy-makers who avail themselves of the abundance of research and evidence-based solutions already available and NGOs who are willing to help. We need an Anti-Bullying Policy in place ASAP. We need a Comprehensive Sex Educational Programme in place ASAP.
If you are a member of the growing number of parents who have lost confidence that Minister Garcia can demonstrate leadership in this issue, please sign the petition and let your voice be heard.
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