Learning Support Department addressing deviant behaviour in schools

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS — Parents, teachers and members of the wider community have been called upon to come together, stand up and fight the widespread negativity and challenging behaviour being exhibited by school children, and more so the boys.

“I observed challenging behaviour myself when I went in (schools) and saw the conduct of the students really out of control, and we need to put a stop to this,” said Mrs Josephine Claxton-Richardson, Coordinator Learning Support Department in the Curriculum Development Unit. “We need to come together and say, enough is enough.”

Mrs Claxton-Richardson has shown the seriousness of the matter and has as a result arranged for a series of workshops both in St. Kitts and Nevis where they are meeting and having discussions with parents and students.

The first was a Parents’ Workshop held under the theme ‘Parents’ Roles and Responsibilities in the Life of their Children’, which was held on Sunday April 19 at the St. Johnston’s Community Centre, La Guerite.

Chaired by Dr Eva Donelly-Bowrin who is the Director for the Curriculum Development Unit, the workshop had three facilitators in Educator, Ms Gloria Mills; founder of Operation Future, Constable Lauston Percival; and another educator, Mr Gerard ‘Archie’ Williams.

“This is the first workshop for parents of students within the Learning Support (Programme), and parents of students who attend the Cotton-Thomas Comprehensive School,” explained Mrs Josephine Claxton-Richardson.

She observed that through her discussions with the teachers within the learning support areas they saw the need for such workshops as they felt that the parents were not coming together, and she believes that there is the need for a partnership between school, home and the wider community.

“We need to be all on the same page at least working together in collaboration for the benefit of our children,” said Mrs Claxton-Richardson. “The idea came, and we held discussions with the teachers and agreed that we could have a parents’ support group. This workshop with the parents is the start.”

Ms Gloria Mills talked on Life Skills under the theme ‘Our Community is a Family’. While advising on the importance of proper upbringing of children, she informed the parents that ‘children learn what they live and live what they learn’. As it relates to relationships, when she told them that “our children do not know who they belong to,” a parent broke down as she narrated what had happened to a close relative.

Officer Lauston Percival handled the subject, ‘First Hand Scenarios – Drug Prevention’ where he showed them the various types of drugs that children abuse. “You have to play an active role in your child’s life,” he advised the parents adding that when the children come back from school, the parents should search their pockets, books and shoes to ensure that they did not carry drugs.

Mr Gerard Williams handled the subject ‘Dealing with Challenging Behaviour’.

Mrs Josephine Claxton-Richardson on Monday travelled along with Ms Gloria Mills to Nevis for the second workshop held at the Red Cross Conference Hall. Mrs Richardson did a session with students of the Learning Support Unit on Nevis in the morning, while Ms Gloria Mills did a session in the afternoon with parents of children at the Learning Support Unit.

According to the Coordinator of the Learning Support Department, the third and fourth workshops would be held at the Zion Moravian Church Hall on Victoria Street on Tuesday and Wednesday where they would be working with the students and the teachers on St. Kitts.

“We need to bring a change process,” said Mrs Claxton-Richardson. “There is so much negativity; there is so much challenging behaviour. A lot of our boys are in the learning support area – we have a high number of boys within this area.”

She lamented that there is a high number of boys within the Cotton-Thomas Comprehensive School, a high number of boys in the prison, and that there is a high number of boys that are being killed; concluding that the society was losing them.

“We need to stand up and say enough is enough and we need to make that stand,” she said. “We need to come together, we need to be talking. If we do not get it right now, then we are going to be in really dire stress because when problems start, it is going to be worse.”

At the St. Johnston Community Centre workshop, there was only one male parent, and Mrs Claxton-Richardson called upon the men to come out and sit down and talk to their children and mentor the males. She warned that if they did not, other persons will do it and the children will pay attention and it is through such contacts that they join gangs.

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