Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, speaking to Principals of Public Secondary Schools today, during a meeting at the Ministry of Education. Also pictured are (left to right) Minister of State in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Patrick Todd, Principal of Harrison College and President of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools, Winston Crichlow and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Guilford Alleyne.??

There is concern about an apparent increase in deviant behaviour among some school children, especially at Inter-school sports.

It????was today expressed by Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, at a closed-door emergency meeting with principals of public secondary schools, at the Ministry of Education.

The meeting was held to gather the opinion of the Principals and to chart the way forward.

Mr. Jones told the gathering: "I am concerned. Sports has thrown up some serious issues and concerns. It appears that …among several of our students, that sports day is being used as an opportunity to demonstrate their worse level of behaviour. Both in the stands, outside of the stadium, and as they make their way from the stadium to either bus stands or to homes." ??He said that the atmosphere was "almost like Kadooment".

Principals of Public Secondary Schools are pictured (above and below) during their meeting today with Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones at the Ministry of Education.

Mr. Jones noted that his Ministry had received "many complaints?? from some residents living in the vicinity of the stadium" and some motorists regarding this level of misconduct by some students.

"Only last night, a picture appeared on my computer…of one of our schools during sports. And, just that one picture of the behaviour in the stands, spoke volumes to a breakdown in the level of student behaviour at sports," the Education Minister lamented.

He added: "We’ve been organising sports and I want to compliment the principals for their efforts and their work over the years, as well as their involvement and commitment. Sports in Barbados is one of those?? areas of activity which we’re trying to keep pushing, because we know that it gives us the exposure that a lot of other things don’t give us. But it has to be controlled by a level of reasonably good behaviour and decorum."

Mr. Jones referred to the banning of the use of musical instruments such as drums last year as one measure to curb unruly behaviour. He indicated that when he first heard about the decision, that he "was a bit skeptical", but later came to support it.

Moreover, the Minister also criticised the practice by some young persons of having patterned hair styles, with what he termed as "all kinds of garish colours" adorning their heads at sports events.

"When you can have students who do not obey instructions of the school in relation to their attire on the outside of the stadium, behaving in a way?? that is totally unconscionable, then that is totally [unacceptable].

"There is too fundamental a breakdown in the behaviour of some…but we need to find a mechanism to deal with that at sports," he insisted.

As a contrast, Mr. Jones observed that individual sporting meets kept in schools’ "domestic space did not have this level of complaints.

The Education Minister told the Principals that he knew that they were "trying their best", while suggesting the need for a collective response, reflective of "consistency and not fragmentation".??clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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