Intervention for Tobago student who threatened school

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The Pentecostal Light and Life Foundation High School in Sangster Hill, Scarborough. –

Social intervention has been recommended for the 17-year-old student who allegedly made threats at the Pentecostal Light and Life Foundation a few weeks ago.

On June 1, the fifth-form student allegedly threatened to “shoot up the school,” after a confrontation earlier that week.

Tobago police and the THA Division of Education, Research and Technology have been investigating the incident.

Police said the student behaved in a disruptive manner while writing the English CXC examination. It continued during the maths exam and he was asked to leave the classroom and school premises.

Police said when the student left, a passer-by heard him “making utterances to the effect that he would get a gun and shoot up the school.” The passer-by told the principal about the statement and the student was later suspended.

On Tuesday, a senior police officer told Newsday the student and his parents were interviewed at their home last week. Police also searched the house.

“A warrant was executed and we were able to search the premises to ensure that nothing illegal was at the home. But nothing was found,” he said.

“So the investigation is complete from the standpoint of recommending interventions such as anger management to ensure that the student becomes a more improved person and could contribute more meaningfully to society.”

Contacted for comment, TTUTA Tobago officer Bradon Roberts said he had not followed up on the investigation.

Told a social intervention had been recommended for the student, Roberts said, “I don’t know that that captures the type of intervention needed in the education system.

“We need the reform of education where education is more meaningful and interesting to the students, so that we don’t wait until we lose our children and then try to have an intervention.”

Roberts said students who have finished secondary school have told him the subjects they studied do not apply to their daily lives.

“So if students don’t see where aspects of education impacts their daily lives, it will be difficult to capture their attention. We need to have measures to keep our angels angels – not have them fearful of punishment, but more interested in good behaviour and positive reinforcement.”

Roberts said in the absence of corporal punishment, society has employed other strategies to bring about discipline among young people. He said some have been unsuccessful.

“We don’t have boot camps, so we copy and paste aspects we think could work, and we have been shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Roberts said if social intervention strategies have been recommended for the student, “The public should know what is the impact of these measures.

“We really need to keep our children on the good path rather than see if we could punish them.”

Roberts said he hopes the Tobago-centric curriculum, which Education Secretary Zorisha Hackett mentioned some months ago, will include strategies to make learning more enjoyable and applicable to the needs of students after they leave school.

“But I have not heard anything about it since then. It will take some time to develop and plan.”

Giving an account of her division’s stewardship during the THA’s first quarterly report on April 4, 2022, Hackett said under the Progressive Democratic Patriots-led THA, the island’s school curriculum would be Tobago-centric.

She said the new approach would improve student performance through reviewing the mission, vision and goals of the division.

Hackett said interdisciplinary approaches to education would incorporate other divisions of the THA “to promote overall quality of life for Tobagonians.”

It would also lead to higher rates of digital literacy.

She said programmes and projects would target different learners and promote inclusivity within the formal and informal education system.

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