There is and will be zero tolerance for any sexual exploitation of our children by any teacher in any school in this island.

These words were emphatically spoken by Minister of Education, Science Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, while speaking recently at the Speech Day and Prize-Giving ceremony of The Lodge School, Society, St. John.

???In the last term or so, we in the Ministry have had to be quite firm that contact between teachers and students must be a formal contact??? Even though we love our children and there is nothing wrong with an embrace around the shoulder or saying you???ve done well, that is where it must stop.

He added that no one would be exempt from disciplinary action. ???I do not care how good you are, or how well you are loved by children or your colleagues, or how brilliant you are; once you cross the line there is no more time for you in education in Barbados???

“These children are here for us to protect not to exploit. As long as we are in this position and we have carefully and exhaustively investigated any matter drawn to our attention, we will act,??? he stressed, adding that this included female on female and male on male relationships.

The Minister also expressed his disappointment at the exploitation of young females in schools, citing a recent video which had gone viral showing a 13-year-old female from a secondary school involved in pornographic acts. He pointed out that what was noticeable was that the face of the female was shown and not that of the male.

???These things are serious; what is going to happen to that young lady as she moves around and is recognised? Are we going to be sympathetic, are we going to empathise at her betrayal at that age? This country has to take stock of what [it is] doing,??? he charged.

Minister Jones urged parents to be more vigilant and to pay critical attention to what their children were doing; who they were going out with; and where they were going, as a way to curtail such behaviours. ???We do not educate men and women in our schools but children…Parents look after your children, if you cannot do it alone there are several state agencies that can help,??? he advised.

Mr. Jones also lauded The Lodge School for its achievements over the past year, including the performance of its students at the recently-concluded Barbados Secondary Schools??? Athletic Championships.

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