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Teen bandit, a troubled student—Garcia
Education Minister Anthony Garcia says the recent killing of a 15-year-old student of the Carapichaima Secondary School involved in the shooting of police officer Anand Ram underscores the need for parents to take greater responsibility and to get more involved in the lives of the children.
Speaking to the T&T Guardian yesterday Garcia said information which he had received on 15-year-old Isaac Simmons is that Simmons was transferred to Carapichaima Secondary from another school which he was attending.
Garcia said his information is that Simmons’ parents “were called in on several occasions and the Student Support Services Division provided guidance and support to the child, but apparently the pull factor was too strong.”
He said while the ministry had put measures in place to address issues of indiscipline in schools and those measures “have helped tremendously to curb violence and indiscipline in schools, the violence is now migrating out of the school.”
One of the major challenges the school system now faces, he said, is that “children who belong to gangs are bringing their gang behaviour into the schools.”
Garcia said this was a “cause of great concern. It is clear that we cannot do it alone and need the active involvement of the national community and in particular, parents have to play a part.”
He said too often parents “throw their hands in the air and say they don’t know what to do but they must take control of their children, ensure they engage them in activities that will redound to their benefit.”
Many times, he said, after a young person who should be in school is held for a crime or killed in the course of committing crimes, parents say “he was a good child and the police did not have to shoot him. But he said those parents must take responsibility if they are closely monitoring their children they will know they are involved in activities which are unlawful.”
The Ministry of Education, he said, is currently “giving active consideration from members of the public that whenever a child is showing deviant behaviour the parent should be called to account because the ultimate responsibility for a child is the parent.”
He is urging young people and students in particular to make the right “life choices.”
Simmons was shot and killed last Friday following a robbery at the home of a bank manager in Gopaul Lands, Marabella.
A third suspect remains at large. PC Ram, who was shot in the abdomen, remains hospitalised. A 16-year-old who is said to be a close relative of Simmons remains in police custody.
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