While a member of the clergy is blaming families for the unruly
behaviour of their children, Franz deFreitas agrees that we will lose
a generation if parents and the society do not wake up and act
During its sitting last Thursday, September 14, the Cabinet
addressed the issue of school fights, in which some students were
involved on the very first day of the new academic year, September
The Executive noted that these violent incidents are being captured
on video, recorded via cell phones, and spread beyond the school
compound via various social-media platforms.
Referring to these disturbing incidents, the priest who offered
prayers during the Cabinet meeting reportedly said that too many
families are failing to send their children to church.
But deFreitas, the United Progressive Party (UPP) caretaker for St.
John’s City South, recounts that – when he was growing up – if
parents received a report of their child being involved in a fight, that
child would have a lot to answer and would likely be punished for
his unruly behaviour.
The priest reportedly said that the peaceful settlement of disputes
and the notion of “turn the other cheek” have not been taught to the
youth. And, again, deFreitas agrees that no lessons on how to
amicably resolve conflicts are being taught to young people today.
He says the Government and, by extension, the schools apparently
have failed to implement programmes that address conflict in order
to avoid a violent outcome.
DeFreitas recalls that, about four years ago, he suggested to the
Ministry of Education that there was a need for certain preemptive
measures. These would prevent the youth from reaching a place
where intervention would be required to deal with violence.
He says he proposed the implementation of after-school
programmes and other measures to ensure the youth do not become
victims of violence.
However, the UPP caretaker says his proposal was flatly rejected by
then Minister of Education Michael Browne.
According to deFreitas, if the society does not truly address this
worrisome issue, then instead of children-on-children violence, it
will one day be children-on-adult violence.