There are no gangs in school, just troubled boys
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
Inspector Owen Brown of the May Pen Police Station says Clarendon does not have a gang problem within its schools.
"I would not say that there are any gangs in schools. Based on some of the reports we have gotten it's an indication, but to outright say that there are gangs in schools, I would not say that," Brown said.
Inspector Brown said some of the male students are just misguided and need to be disciplined. He blames poor parenting as a major contributing factor for the discipline problem schools now face.
"In most of the cases, the home is missing one of the parent - there is no father - and the mothers are usually overwhelmed," Brown said.
"The contributing factor is that the boys are being influenced by the use of marijuana," he added.
Brown, however, had high praises for the Gang Reduction And Prevention Education Programme (GRAPE) which, he said, has played a significant role in preventing the rising of gangs in the Clarendon school system. He said that to ensure the success of the programme, it will take a collaborative effort with all the stakeholders doing their part.
GRAPE represents a move to rescue at-risk youths. The police have partnered with civic groups and businesses in the parish for the programme which, among other things, aims to provide children with the skills necessary to combat the stresses that set the stage for gang involvement.
all hands on deck
Brown said that there is a need for all hands on deck in helping to rescue at-risk youths.
"The Child Development Agency, Social Development Commission, National Youth Service, among other agencies, will all have to get involved and come together and help," he said.
He said also that sharing stories of youths being kicked out of schools and going to prison - giving the harsh facts - will help to deter students from veering off course. The inspector suggested that there should be parenting workshops to help provide guidance and the tools to be better parents.
- C. C-L.