Antigua Observer:-High Court Judge, Keith Thom is calling on parents and those who have a vested interest in the nation’s youth to do something about unsupervised schoolgirls who are roaming the streets after school hours.
The judge said that he has personally observed large groups of young girls congregating around places in the city — in their school uniforms — going about various extra curricula activities, but, too often they are left with very little to no adult supervision.
“It is something I have noticed over time because I driven past there [YMCA Sports Complex] quite often. I ask that the parents pass there to see what is happening; parents need to go there to see what is happening with their children because it seems to be a meeting place for young men to meet young women,” Justice Thom said.
He added that the students he observed were from all the secondary schools in Antigua & Barbuda, to include the privately run institutions.
Justice Thom urged parents to play a more instrumental role in ensuring their children are engaged in activities that are appropriate and beneficial to their personal and academic development.
The justice made his comments ahead of sentencing 21-year-old Tevin Hendrickson who pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse with the 15-year-old girl he met at YMCA weeks before the June 5, 2015 crime.
The convict and the school child also met at the said complex on the day of the offence where Hendrickson encouraged her to leave the compound with him after 6 pm, and she did.
Hendrickson’s attorney, Kivinea Knight, admitted that she, too, has seen youth hanging out at popular after-school meeting spots, like upper High Street, lower Redcliffe and Nevis streets, idling, outside business places.
“It is not just YMCA, even down by [a restaurant] and the parking lot on Nevis Street, the children are always there after school just milling around doing nothing,” she added.
Meanwhile, a private secondary school has issued a notice to parents and guardians regarding their children socialising with their peers after school at the sports complex, and urged the adults to instruct their children to remain at school until they are collected.
Part of the notice read, “The final matter pertains to your child leaving the property to go and socialise unchaperoned at YMCA. There is no form of control at this venue and it is known to serve [as] a fighting haven. Please speak to your [children] about this practice.”