Don’t blame schools for rising crime, QC head says

Principal of Queen’s College (QC) Dr David Brown said it was unfair to blame the schools for the level of delinquency, crime and violence in society.

Brown told Barbados TODAY those who attribute the country’s social problems to the failure of the educational system needed to take a second look at the society and what the schools are doing to develop students.

He also said there was no truth to suggestions that those who are failing in the school system are allowed to fall through the cracks, or were being rushed out into the wider community to become problems for the authorities.

“That is an unfair assessment,” Brown said, pointing to his own school where 19 students were held back from promotion at the end of the last school year because they did not meet the relevant requirements.

“It was a combination of students who had to repeat and some allowed to ‘go up’.  But we did not stop there. Before the end of the term, we called in all the parents of those students who were allowed to go up or repeat. We interviewed them and put strategies in place for [the student’s] improvement,” he explained.

“I could sit back and say ‘I got all these scholarship and exhibitions . . . I’m doing well, so 19 out of 1,086 doesn’t matter’. No. They matter,” a passionate Brown added.

The principal, who will celebrate his tenth year at QC next year, branded as distressing and disturbing, the perception that practitioners in the educational system were fast tracking difficult students through the system to get rid of “a problem”.

“Check the Juvenile Liaison Scheme, the Probation Department, the Child Care Board, the Edna Nicholls Centre, and you will see that in almost all the secondary schools – the newer secondary schools as well – the extent to which principals utilize these institutions to counsel children and try to get them back on track.

“Criminality is a very complex thing and the lack of education and formal training is only one part of the situation that leads to criminality. We must organize society, develop the economy to provide employment and other things in order to prevent that behavior as well,” he suggested.

Brown also said parents and families, and not the school or the church, must share some of the blame for rising lawlessness.

“One of the things that we have to pay attention to is that the first agent of socialization of people, especially young boys, starts at home and the family. Look at how many of these boys are out there, how many of them have a father figure?

“The father figure and parental guidance is very important. Our society has changed a lot. The old extended family with which I grew up – I grew up with my mother but I went by my grandmother and my uncles and my aunts. – they kept me in line if I stepped out of line until my mother came home,” Brown recalled.

The school head also touched on external influences such as the importation of illegal drugs and weapons.

However, she said there was still a role for the school in helping to shape young minds and produce productive citizens.

“I could sit here and say that majority of children at Queen’s College don’t end up in prison therefore . . . . No. What I believe the school system needs to do now is placed some more emphasis to another aspect of education. That is the shape of the person, that is their character,” he stressed.

“All the crime and violence and so on, Barbados is a typical society where, when these things happen, everybody gets frightened, they look around, they try to apportion blame. But nobody sits down and says, ‘let me grab the bull by the horns’.

“I am going to propose to my colleagues that everybody launch this Caribbean Ideal Persons concept and we would appear to be doing something about the shaping of the values and the character of the people who we turn out of our school,” he challenged. 

5 Responses to Don’t blame schools for rising crime, QC head says

  1. Tony Webster August 23, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Mr. Brown, my congratulations on Q.C.’s huge success!
    While I generally support your analysis of “The Problem(s)”, and the possible solutions. You say that “We must organize society, develop the economy to provide employment and other things in order to prevent that behavior as well”…and a few questions arise in my mind:-
    1. Who is “WE”; WHEN do we start; HOW are we to do so; WHERE do we start; Do we have the necessary re$ources?
    2: In such matters, is there a “tipping point”, beyond which it might be impossible to pass any semblance of a future to our kids?
    3: What is meant by a “lost generation”…and any implications for such?
    Last but not the least: Having learnt how to “celebrate” our 50th Anniversary of our Independence, (including how to make $40 M disappear), how might we similarly salute all the goings-on now glorifying our imminent 51st independence??

    Yessir… I pray for my country….daily.

  2. Thunder August 23, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Dr.Brown you are part of the problem,how could you let the church and the school,off of the hook,you may be able to speak about what happens at QC,but you cannot speak to what happens in others schools or churches.
    Just for the record schools have failed some of our students,because how your treated in school has to do with your parents status and occupation,most schools only care about high flyers,children who get a percentage below 60% are labelled as dunce or remedial,no one wants to push to get more.
    All some of these kids want is someone to love,care,believe in them,and also financial assistance so they can have the opportunity that some rich kids receive,and you will see how far they will reach.
    Then you go to the church crying out for help,Pastor sleep with you,then you get pregnant and,he refuses to acknowledge the child is his because he has a wife,then the child grows up and becomes a Ganster,oh yes Dr.Browne,the school and church is to blame as well.

  3. Helicopter(8P) August 23, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Domestic conflict in the child’s home can also be detrimental in his or her academic progress not allowing that child to give of his full potential . Boarding campuses are excellent for students who have domestic problems at home but it’s costly to attend such schools.

  4. Kathie Daniel August 23, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    Well said, Dr Browne! The primary responsibility for rearing a child lies with the parents.
    Even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ needed TWO human parents during His time here in earth.
    Parents need to step up and do the right things for their children. And the rest of us need to stop pointing fingers and find positive ways to help solve this problem. By the time a child reaches school, the personality is pretty well formed and that goes back to the domestic situation.
    Yes, some schools are not the best environment for children, but again, that is a societal issue and we must ALL take some responsibility for this.
    Ditto for the churches and fake churches with the wutless pedophile so-called pastors. Call their sorry behinds out and call the police on them!
    As a proud QC alumna, I can tell you that I am thankful to see Dr. Brown at the helm and I hope that his attitude rubs off on some others in society. FIAT LUX and FERTUR LUX.

  5. just observing August 23, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Dr. Browne, the home environment plays a great part but the one size fits all education system is also failing our children .


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