Sat | Nov 17, 2018

Protect your child!

Published:Sunday | March 8, 2015 | 12:00 AMNadine Wilson-Harris
Students from various communities in and around Lawerence Tavern in St.Andrew, trying to get transportation to their corporate area schools.
Students from various communities in and around Lawerence Tavern in St.Andrew, trying to get transportation to their Corporate Area schools.

Parents could be in trouble if their children are harmed during early-morning commute.

Parents who allow their children to hit the roads in the wee hours of the morning with no protection or support could find themselves in trouble with the law if the child is harmed.

Registrar of the Office of the Children's Registry (OCR), Greg Smith, last week expressed his concern over the many children that are sometimes seen going to school before dawn without adult supervision.

"You can't have children at that hour of the morning standing at the bus stop alone," Smith told The Sunday Gleaner.

"Under the Child Care and Protection Act, you are held accountable in terms of the level of supervision that you give to your children," added Smith.


Supervise them


Children-rights advocate Betty Ann Blaine shared Smith's concern as she urged parents to take their children to the bus stop or ensure that they are properly supervised when they have to leave home early in the mornings for school.

"I oftentimes drive through the countryside of Jamaica early in the mornings and I have seen many times children waiting for transportation, particularly in rural Jamaica. It's dark, they are out there by themselves, standing, waiting, and I am telling you, the only thing that surprises me really is that we don't have more child murders in Jamaica," said Blaine.

"Those people in our society who are hell-bent on abusing our children and killing them must be smiling from here to the bank, because they look at the situation and it is ripe for child abuse," added Blaine.

"There is no reason why parents cannot get up and walk their children to the bus stop and wait until they get on to the transportation, know who the driver is, whether it's a bus driver or taxi driver, and make sure they meet them again," she said.


Get involved


Executive director of the National Parenting Support Commission, Dr Patrece Charles, shared similar sentiments and urged parents to get out of bed early and take their children to school or ensure that they are properly supervised.

"Parents have to get up and realise that they have to get involved with the safety of their children, and I know you work hard and you probably have smaller children at home, but it's really your responsibility to see to it that the environment that your child is in is as safe as possible," said Charles.

"We are raising our children to be street-smart and they are growing up a lot faster than they really need to, and because of this, some parents take it for granted that they will be okay as long as they know how to walk down the streets and take the bus, and ignoring the fact that there are prowlers around and there are paedophiles around, and there are people around that will hurt their child."