Change in Education Act timely?

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By Shanique Richards

St. Kitts Reporter

The St. Kitts & Nevis Government is now making provisions within the laws of the Federation to bar convicted sex offenders from holding teaching positions. This amendment to the Education Act of 2005 is expected to become effective in late September. Educators have weighed in on the topic, saying in the main that it is about time.

The Observer hit the streets to find out what the average citizen thought of the act designed to keep sexual deviants out of the school system.

Sonia Guishard, Marriott – First of all I am a mother of three so I agree with the government 100%. Allowing sex offenders in schools in the first place should not have been. This can have a negative effect on the children as well as on the community. Also, teachers should be brought out even if its just suspension when they have been suspected of child molestation or any other related issues. Teachers should mold children in the right way and not try to molest them.

Donald Brookes, East Park Range – This amendment should have been put in place a long time ago because it now raises the point that it is possible that convicted sex offenders are inside our education system right now as we speak. What are we going to do about those who are already teaching our kids?

Furthermore, no sex offender could teach my child anything because number one, she is underage and vulnerable and this person might be able to manipulate her and encourage her to do wrong things so therefore I fully agree with government.

I also feel that if this matter arises in the future, it needs to be ensured that these educators are taken to court and that they receive the same treatment as anyone else on the street. These matters need to be taken to fullest extent of the law. These teachers act as a second parent to the students so they should be held fully responsible for whatever happens under their supervision.

Dian Cannonier, City Drug Store – I do not think that sex offenders should be teaching. I agree with the amendment. Those who have molested children already and are still teaching I think should be kicked out because if you do it once you could do it again. Also, those who are convicted need to be rightly punished because I have two girls and if I am not satisfied I will take matters into my own hands.

Jackiesha, Irish Town Bay Road – Who creates an education act but does not include a clause to protect our children from sexual abuse and other surrounding dangers? I think this should have been passed a long time ago and I do not see why they waited until now. Sex offenders are in our schools right now and I always use to wonder why and if nobody realize.

There have also been many complaints about these kinds of issues and they either get “hush down” or they transfer the offender to another school just to do the same thing over again. They also need to think about making the punishment for troubling people children much harsher. Let us see what the outcome will be now that it is legally being documented. I think that September is too late because that means that our youth for this school term might be already be exposed to someone who is a sex offender.

Wayne Pemberton, Teacher – I think this amendment should have been passed a long time ago but I must also say that we cannot focus on the past either so we have to deal with what is at hand right now. I don’t think any sex offenders should be teaching the young children especially those teachers that try to get involved with their students because they must remember that students are our future generation, and if we spoil them now, what type of society are we creating?

We have to be very careful about who we put in the schools and what they are doing in the schools. I think teachers act as parents so we should see these students as our children and I don’t think any of us would want to have sex with our children so we have to be very careful with who we chose to be around these students.

Ruth Charles, The Treasury – I would think that offenders are offenders and if we are going to do this, then it does not make sense if you have offenders from 1998 who are teaching still and you are going to bar those from 2007 so we have to remove one and all. The sex offenders need psychological help and should not be in the school system. Putting them among school children is only making it easier and for them to act on whatever triggers their sexual habits.

It is like having a cat around fish, it strengthens the cravings and urges. I don’t think they should be allowed around defenseless children and I think they should be placed in a safer working environment. They also need to look in homes for these types of things because a lot of young children are being molested at home and to experience it at school as well is dangerous.

I also think that the punishment for educators who commit these offenses are too light and this shows that our judicial system does not think much of it, but the child still has that scar for a lifetime. We need to provide a safe environment for our children.

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