Principal says society not blameless for violent students

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Principal of Antigua & Barbuda Institute of Continuing Education (ABICE) Joseph Gilbert said society should bear some of the blame for the violent and aggressive behaviour displayed by some children in the school system.

His comments come on the heels of several incidents of violence involving students.

“Society needs to realise that students are sent to school for educational purposes, but by the time they get to ABICE, they would have already gone through the primary and secondary school systems and they are here for their life skills, but if there is no proper foundation from day one then this is where the problem lies,” Gilbert said.

The ABICE principal said there is an Adolescence Development Programme (ADP) available at the institution, which aims to correct that.

One of its teachers, Laila Hampson, yesterday, said that the three-month initiative has been extended to last an entire school year to provide the students with the necessary life skills to become productive adults.

“The ADP programme utilises the SPICES curriculum, which looks at the spiritual, physical and intellectual, creative, emotional and social person,” she said.  “It highlights adolescence issues and how each student should deal with their problem as well as offering group counselling for feedback and interaction.

“It specifically targets literacy. I can recall going into a classroom just last week to do reading assessment and I almost cried because the students you hear talking all the time are unable to read fluently a passage from a level one book.”

However, of the 117 enrolled in the programme which caters for the youth aged 16 to 19 years old, just about 88 students have ever turned up for the sessions. The remaining students who are unaccounted for might have gone directly into the work force without the training.

In terms of violence, Hampson said, “A lot of young people are troubled and a lot of older persons don’t seem to realise that young people go through things, but they do and those things affect them. They may not deal with it right away but over a time there is a build-up and eventually there is an explosion. What ABICE gets is the end product and they come to us most often with their issues.”

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