Statement by the Education Minister on public altercations involving students

At the level of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago we understand that without repercussions, students may believe that they can get away unscathed when acts of indiscipline move out of the school and into public spaces, this is far from the reality. The Ministry of Education, Ministry of National Security and the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) will be engaging a strategic, collaborative endeavour that will treat with students who engage in public altercations in the same way that persons out of uniform would be treated. It must be noted that while the Ministry of Education is responsible for a student while in uniform and will maintain the responsibilities associated, students who engage in and inflict physical harm on to another person can and will face the accompanying penalties that come with such actions.

Recently, I made a public appeal to parents and citizens of this country to be more vigilant and involved in the activities of the nation’s students outside of the school compound. I make this subsequent statement, after seeing the behaviour displayed by students in an altercation that has now gone viral on social media. The fracas that took place on the afternoon of Friday 15th February 2019 in Sangre Grande reinforces that much more has to be done within the community to address the challenges that we, as a nation are facing. As the security and vigilance in schools has been ramped up, instances of disobedience have migrated outside of the school and they will be addressed and dealt with accordingly.

The goal of this collaboration is not to turn our communities into that of a police state but to get our young people to understand that at every level, in the home, in the school and in the community, their safety and that of the people around them is of paramount importance. Students who engage in acts of what can only be deemed as assault must understand that their actions come with consequences, and a student who is victimised must also have some form of redress for whatever they may have had to endure.

Within the coming weeks more on the collaborative initiative of the Ministries and the TTPS will be shared with the public however, at this time, I want the public to know and understand that these fights and matters of indiscipline will be addressed with the seriousness and severity of punishment that are aligned to the actions. Citizens are reminded that along with the Laws of Trinidad and Tobago in which the consequences for particular actions are outlined, the respective actions that will be taken by the school in these instances can be found in the National School’s Code of Conduct.

The Ministry of Education ably supported by government agencies of this country will continue to explore all avenues to ensure that our human resources, our nation’s future, our children, are first and foremost protected in whatever way possible as their safety and security will be what secures a positive future for Trinidad and Tobago.

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