Fears of student violence prompt All Saints Secondary to postpone Glow Walk, while it engages clergy to pray for peace

The December 8th “Glow Walk” scheduled to be put on by the All Saints Secondary School has been postponed.

According to Joshuanette Francis, a teacher at the school, the decision to put off the event was influenced by the violence now taking place among the youth.

Gang-related issues have occurred over the past few weeks, at various locations – including the cinema – and students have been seriously injured.

Following a recent chopping incident that involved an Antigua Grammar School student, Francis says that an All Saints Secondary pupil was stabbed last Friday.

Accordingly, she says the school had to consider the safety of its students and other participants in the Glow Walk, which would have attracted a large gathering.

Meanwhile, the teacher attributes this recent increase in youth and gang violence to several factors – including community influences, social media, parents, and the music to which young people listen.

Francis notes that students are no longer behaving like children, adding that the content they are placing on social media is disturbing.

Videos now in circulation show young people with their faces covered and posing with weapons such as knives, scissors and cutlasses. …

Where are the parents to help to deal with this issue, Francis is asking.

She says this situation has to be monitored closely, since a number of students from her school have been singled out for attack – which has also contributed to the Glow Walk being postponed. 

Francis says the Minister of Education, Daryl Matthew, has been brought into the discussion, and she reports that an emergency principals’ meeting was recently held to address this serious matter.

As part of All Saints Secondary’s attempt to address the issue with its students, Francis says that men of God have been engaged, twice weekly, to offer spiritual intervention on the pupils’ behalf.

Francis says this initiative has “somewhat helped,” but it is not enough, since counselors and other stakeholders need to get on board.

She admits she does not know how the problem will be solved, but she acknowledges that it is not going to be a quick fix and may actually take some years to handle.

In the meantime, while the Glow Walk has been postponed, Francis says that other activities will be held to raise funds for the school, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary on September 21, 2023.