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It seems that only Minister of Education, Anthony Garcia, believes that there is a reduction in school violence in Trinidad and Tobago.

Despite evidence to the contrary, Garcia clings to his Ministry’s report (and statistics) that school violence has been reduced. Just look at social media and reports coming from schools.

Now President of TTUTA, Lindsey Doodhai, has taken the Ministry to task for its Easter press release.
Doodhai does not believe the data collected by the ministry truly reflected what was happening with students at both the primary and secondary levels.

Doodhai’s comments followed claims by ministry officials that efforts had led to a reduction in the number of incidents of school violence and indiscipline, thus resulting in a decline in the number of suspensions and extended suspensions being sought by principals.

Doodhai said TTUTA intended to carry out their own investigations to determine the truth, after they were informed by members that the ministry had instructed school principals some time ago, to cut down on the number of suspensions being handed out.

Discounting the data being used by the ministry, Doodhai said, “The teachers who are in schools have been telling us there is no reduction with respect to violence and indiscipline as they point out situations in which students are engaged in deviant behaviour.”

He added, “Some matters are not being dealt with in a forthright manner as some students are not being suspended or penalised as they should for infractions.”

Doodhai was uncertain if it was a move to protect the respective school’s image or an unwillingness to complete the requisite paper work, hence his claim that the data was not representative of what was happening in schools today.

Regarding efforts to rehabilitate students, Doodhai commended the ministry for introducing the Learning Enhancement Centre (LEC) initiative which he described as, “An improvement from the past.”

However, he said much more still needed to be done to reform students.

Doodhai said although the Student Support Services Division was tasked with counselling these students, other efforts were also needed such as curriculum reform.

The ministry said suspensions were reduced from 5,257 in 2015, to 3,940 in 2016.
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