Amid reports of secondary school students involved in gangs, the President of the National Principals Association (NPA) has called on parents to shoulder their responsibility in disciplining their children and ensuring the youngsters do not loiter in the streets after school.
Valerie St. Helene-Henry spoke as police investigations continue into the wounding of a student in Castries on Wednesday afternoon.
The NPA President said it was unfortunate that there were incidents of student loitering, fights, and gangs in the first week of school.
“I am aware of schools that have reported students belonging to gangs,” St. Helene-Henry told St. Lucia Times.
She observed that some students avoid classes because they are ‘wanted’ by gang members.
The NPA official spoke of the need for continued stakeholder intervention to curtail the student loitering and fights after school hours.
“These are things that have always been there, but they are escalating,” St. Helene-Henry noted.
In addition, she explained that people usually tend to turn the spotlight on the role of principals and teachers.
However, the NPA official disclosed that principals and teachers are already doing a lot in school to guide students on how to behave and deal with conflicts.
Nevertheless, she asserted that as soon as youngsters enter their homes and communities, they encounter the same things educators try to guard them against.
As a result, St. Helene-Henry said parents need to step up.
“Do not wait until there’s death to be on television saying, ‘Oh, he was a good boy’ and saying all the good things. Sometimes those students are repeat offenders at schools. The Principals have tried. They have sent them for counselling, tried other measures,” she observed.
“But if the parents do not play their part then we are lost,” the NPA President lamented.
She said parents need to establish curfews and check on their children regarding student loitering.
And she suggested that some parents had perhaps given up on their children.