The tragic events at Happy Hill Secondary School

By Anande Trotman-Joseph

Who is going to pay for the metal detectors for schools? That is the million-dollar question.

On Wednesday 17th of October 2012, school children at Happy Hill Secondary School screamed and fainted at the sight of their slain Fifth form colleague, who lost his life following an alleged knife attack, by a female Form 1 student of the same school.

Innocence and expectations both were shattered, as survivors now live with brittle hearts, desensitised to death, as the wonderland of childhood and quickly evaporated.

Grenadians reacted to the news of the tragedy with horror, as they did in recent years, to other stabbings, including a fatal one too, at other High Schools and the suicide of a troubled teen.

Some time ago, a primary school student fired a gun on another, causing injury. An older child even allegedly killed her sister a toddler.

This happens in England, America, or Trinidad… Not in the island paradise – Grenada, is our denial. The obvious questions are now asked: Why are children becoming so aggressive with extreme behaviour? How are these ideas getting into their heads? Who is to blame? Will the girl face the justice system?

She will have to answer a Judge and jury of adults not her peers, as adults begin to point fingers: at parents, teachers, schools, the School Board, Security, the Ministry of Education officials, the Church.

It is time to collectively take stock. There are troubling revelations from internal and external researchers and experts. The research indicates that the norms of our social and cultural environment enable conditions that may lead to aggressive and sexually charged behaviour by children.

Children in this region, including Grenada have the earliest sexual debuts in the world. It is criminal that children as young as 4 years old are sexualized sexually molested and raped in their own homes and communities.

Domestic violence also negatively impact their lives and psyches. The abuses and influences manifest in behaviours at schools, where they spend most of their early lives. It is no secret that mini gangs are fashionable in schools mirroring the gangs of society and movie land.

Multi media television programming, music and internet access can lead children to violent and pornographic content if unsupervised.  Parents and guardians must guard against these influences on their children’s lives from early childhood. It starts at home.

Don’t let televisions, computers and I-pods baby sit them. They need your love, attention and example, at home where anger management and conflict resolution begins. Neglect and abuse may have fatal consequences. It will cost us plenty.

For the irreparable losses of our children lives; then we will pay taxes for trials; placing children in conflict with the law in the prison/juvenile centers, and security at school.

(Anande Trotman-Joseph is an Attorney at Law and member of Grenada National Coalition on the Rights of the Child)

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