Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Archer-Bradshaw, speaking to students of the Coleridge and Parry School, following a tour of the school today. (S. Medford/BGIS)

Chief Education Officer, Dr. Ramona Bradshaw, has responded to a viral video on Tik Tok, showing junior students at an older secondary school vaping – using an electronic pen for smoking.

Dr. Archer-Bradshaw, who spoke to the media following a tour of two St. Peter schools today, denounced the action, stating that it would not be condoned in schools.  She also urged parents, teachers and principals to continue to mould their students in the right way.

Speaking on the likely consequences of the students’ action, she acknowledged that counselling would be paramount for them.  

Elaborating on the options, she said: “Well of course, if it is a situation like the one right now with the students vaping and so on, we will have to get counselling for those children. There are certain levels for dealing with disciplinary problems – level 1, level 2 infractions – you can have suspension occurring.

“You can call in the National Council on Substance Abuse and have them talk to the children. You can have various counselling interventions and you can give them community service within the schools. So, there are a number of things that can happen to help these children get back on the right track.”

Noting that inherently children were good, she added: “They just sometimes try to push the boundaries to see how far they can go, but as long as we say: ‘These are the rules; these are the standards; these are the consequences of not following the standards’, they understand that and they will operate to suit.”

She also stressed that the Ministry would continue to enforce the necessary measures.

Meanwhile, the Chief Education Officer disclosed that a review of the cell phone policy was on the cards. Pointing out that it was something the Ministry would be looking at to see the pros and the cons of having cell phones in schools and how best to manage their use, she stated: “But cell phones are not supposed to be in schools right now and these children are using the cell phones to do things. We have to look at it [and] we will do so. But in the meantime, the children have to follow the rules, and if they don’t, then they will be consequences for not following the rules.”

joy-ann.gill@barbados.gov.bb

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