Categorized | National News

Fitzgerald: Insufficient Truancy Officers

Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald has admitted that there aren’t enough truancy officers and the ones who are in place cannot effectively do their jobs without the community’s help.

Mr. Fitzgerald was responding to questions from reporters earlier this week about children continuously arriving to school late.

“We don’t have enough truancy officers, I admit but it’s going to take more than just them to deal with this problem,” he said.

“It’s going to take a collective responsibility. I, on many mornings, stop and ask children why they aren’t in school and I direct them to school. It just seems as if there is a lackadaisical attitude and not just by the students, but by the parents as well.”

The education minister said that lack of discipline flows into the workplace with people having trouble showing up to work on time.

“It is important for a person to have the discipline to know that you should be to school and work on time,” Minister Fitzgerald said.

“It starts in the school and we have a lot of work to do there. It’s going to take a lot of education. Truancy officers and Ministry of Education officials and myself as the minister cannot do it by ourselves. The community and parents have to be sufficiently outraged that at 9:30 a.m. children are standing on the corner and not in schools and it’s everywhere.”

He also explained that the problem is not only with children attending government schools, but private schools as well.

“I visit schools all the time and at 10 o’clock students are still walking through the gates and that’s unacceptable,” the education minister said.

“Something has to be done. We need to get the entire country involved. There’s an attitude that flows from the schools into the workplace so it’s a very serious matter. I am very frustrated by it. You punish the kids, put them in detention but it does not make a difference; the children still come late.”

A school security guard, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said children sometimes come to school as late as noon.

“They don’t care and when you meet them at the gate and question them about their tardiness, they give you an attitude,” the security guard told The Bahama Journal.

Minister Fitzgerald said addressing the problem is going to take a “big effort” from everyone.

“Parents know the children are leaving late but no one seems to take it seriously. Parents need to take more responsibility across the board and so does the entire community,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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