Remarks delivered by Acting Chief Education Officer, Laurie King

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Remarks delivered by Acting Chief Education Officer, Laurie King, at the presentation of the Magazine Teen CSI to The Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development by The National Task Force on Crime Prevention February 26, 2010

Mrs. Cheryl Willoughby, Head of the Task Force on Crime Prevention and all members of the Task Force.

In accepting this Magazine on the behalf of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, I wish to express our appreciation to the Administrators of the National Task Force on Crime Prevention. This is a positive gesture and should go a long way towards assisting us in our efforts to combat the scourge of violence and crime among our young people.

The issue of violence and deviant behavior in schools and the wider community is of sufficient importance to warrant interventions such as the production of this Magazine.?? This type of behaviour tends to be pervasive.?? It presents a problem that is multifaceted and will require the sustained efforts of all individuals in society.

This kind of interagency collaboration must be encouraged.?? We have to tackle the problems together on all fronts.?? It impacts on all of our lives.?? No one is spared.?? We have to provide our young charges with positive examples of ways to resolve conflict.?? We have to provide messages, pictures, role models to help them to think before acting in conflicting situations.?? All individuals and agencies must be involved.?? I note that the Magazine provides useful tips on how to resolve this conflict and also how to cope with the many challenges which young people face today.?? The children will find this very useful.?? This Magazine will serve as a constant reminder of the appropriate actions to take in different situations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am aware that this Magazine has been prepared for use at our primary and secondary schools and I know that the main goal is to provide the student population with additional tools to help them organize their studies and their lives, build knowledge and awareness about the importance of weighing the consequences of their actions.

In the last 15 years, a number of initiatives have been put in place to provide intervention (psychological, counselling, social work, school attendance and special education) for children with "at risk" behaviours that hamper their school experience and cause them to perform at less than their optimal.?? It is evident that there is a great need for the expansion of these services offered to students if we are to keep abreast of the increasing challenges that are faced within the school setting on a daily basis. This problem is not unique to Barbados.?? According to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD) approximately 15 to 30% of school-aged children in the member states countries fall into the category of "at risk" (Schonert-Reil;2000) and as such are in need of Support Services.?? This Magazine will no doubt bring to the fore awareness of issues such as gambling, gang involvement, prostitution, bullying and will assist in helping young people to cope successfully with these issues by presenting scenarios and solutions.

Ladies and Gentlemen, what we should seek to avoid however, as we continue to build our communities is the belief that we are locked in by our circumstances and that the limitations, the very real limitations, (be they size, race, colour, ancestry) present impenetrable barriers to personal growth and success.?? Negative typologies neither defined nor daunted our creative icons of the past.?? They did not succumb to self-fulfilling prophecies.?? Instead, they embraced and responded to the nurturing that was made available to them by their parents, their extended families and the educational system, all of which were essentially reliable.?? We no longer have this extended family support in the same ways.?? Therefore we must look to the wider society to assist us with the management of our children.

The Government of Barbados is cognizant of the fact that our people are our greatest resource and that we must therefore endeavour to develop each citizen to the fullest.?? With this understanding, the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development applauds the effort of the National Task Force on Crime Prevention for its vision in recognizing the necessity to contribute to one of the greater needs of our country: to provide education for all.?? We stand ready to continue working with you to address the issues faced by the young people in our society and more specifically in our schools.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may God continue to bless you as we seek to collectively address crime sensitization issues.?? Do have a good day.

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