School violence: How do you feel about it?

Contestants in the 2016 Richard Stoute Teen Talent Competition will not only challenge each other on the stage. For the second year, they will also have to write essays on critical national issues. Barbados TODAY will be featuring those essays throughout the contest. This week’s essay addresses the issue of school violence.

Name:     Yahandje R. Daniel

Age:        12 Years Old

Topic:      Violence in Schools

Yahandje R. Daniel
Yahandje R. Daniel

The words to a popular Whitney Houston song go“I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside”. It is therefore a cause of grave concern, the topic of violence in schools. If it is true that here in Barbados our human resource is our greatest asset, then violence in schools has the capacity to leave Barbados with a very bleak outlook for the future, since the children of today are supposed to be the leaders of tomorrow.

As a student of a secondary school, I have witnessed firsthand the impact of violence in schools on the school and, by extension, the wider society. It is my humble opinion that violence in schools, which is by no means a new occurrence by any stretch of the imagination, is a societal problem and is being allowed to get out of hand largely due to the inaction of adults who should surely know better, and to a lesser extent, social media. At only twelve (12) years old, I may be too young to have experienced the much touted “ole time days”, but I have been fortunate enough to have lived them through my great-grandmother’s, grandmother’s and mother’s teachings. One of the must-haves back in those days was respect, and children had to be mannerly to adults and to each other. These are different times now where parents try to be their child’s friend instead of parenting and the children are allowed to go helter-skelter without regard for anyone or anything and the old proverb of “train up a child in the way it should go so that when it is old it will not depart from it” is lost somewhere along the way.

It is my belief that violence in schools was allowed to creep in more when children decided whether or not they are attending Sunday School; when flogging in schools was banned; when technology in schools is being abused and misused by students; when children are on their way to school in public transport and hearing all of the music with the lewd and explicit lyrics; and when children are coming to school with unresolved anger issues and there is no forum for them to be taught anger management and how to deal with negative peer pressure. There is also the very common issue of bullying and students not being able to “turn the other cheek”, so violence is usually the answer.

It is my view that violence in schools is now totally out of control and I believe that in an effort to bring back discipline in our schools, we should first go back to the old adage that states “charity begins at home” and parents should be our first line of defence, where they are encouraged to play their roles without fear or favour while corporal punishment could be used as a last resort without abusing the child.

In conclusion, to combat the rising problem of violence in schools and the associated problems, I would like to see students involved in wholesome activities such as the environmental club, debating society, choir and especially cadets where discipline is highly valued and taught. In my opinion, between housework, schoolwork and the above mentioned extracurricular activities, I’m certain that students would be hard pressed to find the time to engage in any unsavoury behaviour. Let us as young children endeavour today to be the great leaders of tomorrow that we are called to be.

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