...Demand security update

By Elizabeth Williams

Teachers at the Signal Hill Comprehensive School have written to the Chief Secretary demanding an immediate update on plans to address safety concerns at the school.

The teachers say they are fearful for their lives because of the violent nature of some of the pupils at the school. Last Thursday, a pupil threw a glass bottle containing urine at one of his teachers, prompting an immediate meeting among teachers at the institution.

A senior teacher at the school told Tobago News that they have been grappling with this situation for at least eight years. "On each occasion, Education would collect the students, send them for counseling and the delinquent pupils would return to school shortly after to continue their behaviour," he noted.

Teachers are also upset by a stance taken by the Ministry of Education that only the Minister can sign an expulsion letter. This means the principal of a school can only hand out a maximum penalty of seven days suspension.

The teachers also want the Chief Secretary to say which contractor has been awarded the contract to construct a fence at the back of the school and when construction would commence.

"The Secretary came the last time and promised the fence would be constructed soon. He gave us his word; but to date we are still waiting, still fearful that one of these pupils would come through that fence to execute one of their dastardly acts," the teacher stated.

When asked to comment on the matter, former Principal of the Signal Hill Secondary School, and present Tobago Chief Secretary Orville London said the security of teachers and pupils of the school is paramount. He added that he will leave the necessary works to be done at the school to the experts.

"It is up to the Principal, MTS Security Firm and the Division of Education to address the matter. An evaluation needs to be done on the school where that specific matter is concerned," London said.

London however, insisted the procurement process to carry through the installation of the new fence at the school has been completed and the contractor, who has been appointed to carry out the job should have met with the principal on Tuesday.

When pressed further on the ultimatum given to the Division of Education to provide in writing the necessary security measures on Wednesday, London said he would prefer our questions be directed to Education Secretary Whitney Alfred. Tobago News tried repeatedly to access the Secretary via his mobile phone but the calls went unanswered.

By press time, some workmen had turned up at the school to begin taking measurements.

Teachers were still consulting each other and their union on the course of action to follow.

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Anonymous said on Friday, Mar 23 at 11:09 AM

When students are protraying violent behavious at school,expulsions is not the answer.There was a time when trade schools were available in Tobago and should be developed positively for students to go into the field of work -education.Sometimes the stress to keep up with the high demands of studying is too much,and outlets must be put in place. I am wearied by the constant complaning and lack of solutions beign presented. These are young adults and our future generation,who would one day take leadership positions in many different areas of life. Its no longer just enough to teach,we have to be role models and examples of a much higher learning system. than what we are use to. WE belittle our children when we just punish them instead of trying to comprehend whats causing the epedemi of little respect for the school system. Its time we start inventing ,creating and leading and stop constantly saying this young generation has no respect any-more.

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concerned said on Friday, Mar 23 at 11:33 AM

For a small island as Tobago. It is very corrupt. My God! No wonder people don't want to come back.It's like DOG EAT DOG.

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the virginian said on Friday, Mar 23 at 12:37 PM

A different point of view:Children and adolescents displaying violent,menacing or constantly disruptive behavior at school, creating a hostile and unfavorable learning environment should be expelled for the sake of those who value learning and,as such,want to learn. The principal should essentially be the chief administrator for the particular school,must be held accountable and responsible for all that transpires there and must,therefore,be vested with the authority to expel or discipline for cause following sanctioned preestablished guidelines without being second guessed.Any school system that relies on a ministerial executive to consummate expulsion or related action is too centralized.In business management 101:a decision should be made at the lowest level of an organization capable--note the word'capable'--of making and execution said decision.Are you going to tell me that a principal is untrained and unqualified to execute on all disciplinary cases at his/her school?C'mon now.

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Anonymous said on Saturday, Mar 24 at 2:14 PM

When we start expelling children from school ,without dealing with the issues causing the effect ,we all know the severe consequences which would be presented negatively in the community,leaving more and more people feeling the failure of a school system. Its only a very,extreme,primitive mind who would suggest that the only solution is expelsion,thereby,throwing away young talents,trapped in hostility.We are bigger and better and more equipped to deal in a much more effective and intelligent manner.

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the virginian said on Saturday, Mar 24 at 5:42 PM

I thought that much.Generally in developed societies expelling someone from regular elementary,middle or secondary school for violent or menacing behavior or behavior not conducive to regularized learning doesn't normnally translate into a cast-away situation for the offender.It simply means that his/her participation in the normal class setting is unhelpful to him/her,the other students and teachers.A regular school is only a regular school and not an institution to repair a parent's deficiences.So depending on the nature of the infraction,the kid might be directed to another school setting or class type where he/she might have the benefit of a professional school social worker,psychologist and even a psychiatrist,of course with parental consent,with the intent of addressing the kid's issues. Often,if it were determined a vocational setting is the answer,then that exposure would be made available at least until legal adulthood.Your child should not prevent mine from learning.

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Anonymous said on Sunday, Mar 25 at 9:01 AM

Their you go,dealing with the issues,thats all i said nothing else.

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Anonymous said on Tuesday, Mar 27 at 4:02 AM

I must say as a coloured Tobagonian,I fel honoured,to be called just that.GROWIN up in Tobago i have have the priveledge of learning the value of community unity_to love,laugh,respecting each other and to aknowledge the awareness of God.In my uppbringing i have also learned,that we can have flaws and make wrong turns,but nevertheless,we politely accepted each others inperfections.I am beggining to think that this is where we went wrong.I believe that this is where we neededeach other the most,,but because we lacked the knowledge,we perished as a country.I however hold Tobagonians in high regards,for the basics they have not forgotten,they just need to remember that together,if we aspire ,we would be a force to be rekon.So as Indian girl intelligence allows her to remain in a primitive mindset,i hope that she evolves into a worthwhile citizen.

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broketriniteacher said on Wednesday, Mar 28 at 2:07 PM

London is a long he inside the THA.. tourists dont even have a proper jettey to board the glass bottom boats in store and all his henchmen are jokers...please save Tobago from these jokers

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Anonymous said on Thursday, Mar 29 at 12:05 AM

Exactly why do we need to spoil our beaches ,with a jetty.How we are operating is fine.Too much development,is no development.Its extremely harmful for the eco-system.

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the virginian said on Sunday, Apr 1 at 2:58 PM

C'mon Anonymous,I'm sure you know that in this case,and for this purpose,the jetty needn't be a permanent fixture and as such could be stably anchored both on shore and in the water and removable and reinstalled as needed.I've seen this in operation and could be replicated in Tobago as an enhancement should it be deemed necessary.But as you've indicated"how we are operating is fine," so I guess my suggestion,as far as you're concerned,isn't meritorious.

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Anonymous said on Sunday, Apr 1 at 3:27 PM


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Anonymous said on Sunday, Apr 1 at 3:38 PM

When its winter in the USA why dont you put a mat along the pathway,it would keep you from slippery grounds.

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Anonymous said on Sunday, Apr 1 at 3:40 PM

You can move the mat everyday when you go to work,and when you come home,walk up the slippery pathway,collect the mat,spread it out,and then walk into the house.then when you get to the door pull the mat inside for another day.

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