Don’t threaten our children – Terrelonge
Education and Youth State Minister Alando Terrelonge has called for Jamaicans to reject the creeping normalisation of violence, especially with 40 child fatalities this year.
The state minister warned parents that they did not have the right to abuse children because they were responsible for their birth.
“As a nation, we must reject any such notion. It is a travesty of justice that there are persons who would seek to hurt our children. What happens in society is because of a lack of education. There are some people who refuse to believe that our children have rights,” he told The Gleaner during a Primary School Child Rights Competition at The University of the West Indies, Mona, on Tuesday.
He said the recent confrontation between a teacher and a student at Pembroke Hall High School, in which the teacher threatened to murder the schoolboy, was “most unfortunate”.
“I don’t think any child should be threatened at all, irrespective of what that child has done, and I don’t think any teacher should be threatened or disrespected either.”
He said the incident was evidence that enough attention was not being paid to the mental health and wellness of teachers, as well as students, who may be experiencing depression.
A wide representation of students from 50 schools across Jamaica’s three counties gathered at The UWI on Tuesday.
In songs, poems, and skits, each school presented an interpretation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, which was adopted 30 years ago.
Spalding Primary School emerged the overall winner of the Child Rights Competition, followed by Old Harbour Primary and Ewarton Primary schools. Spalding also copped the prize for best poem.
Multiple performances echoed the right to be heard and the right to be protected against violence, abuse and neglect.