The Ministry of National Security has called on all citizens, but particularly adult males, to “go back to school.”
The Honorable Mr. Justice Lloyd Williams, Q.C. has stepped forward in response to the Ministry’s call, and in this interview explains his reasons for doing so.
Q: Which school do you visit, and how often do you go there?
A: I go to the Basseterre High School once a month. I sit in on two classes each time I visit.
Q: But isn’t it the responsibility of parents to rear their children? Why should private citizens have to make these type of visits?
A: Ideally, parents should indeed rear their children, and rear them properly. However, in those cases where that is not happening, the rest of society has a duty to step in. If there are young people who, for one reason or another, lack guidance and direction, do we just look the other way? I don’t think so, because sooner or later we will all be affected – one way or the other.
So the entire citizenry has to become involved now, in an attempt to rectify the situation. Society as a whole will suffer if we refuse to do our part. We must get a better understanding of what it feels like to be a teacher and what it feels like to be a student, today. We have to help guide young people along the right path.
Q: How old were the students in the classes you visited, and how did they react to you?
A: Well, I was there primarily in the role of an observer, and that is what they let me do. I must say that I think that the mere presence of a visitor always causes an improvement in behavior, no matter what school you are talking about, and that in itself is a good thing.
Q: How did what you saw, and heard, compare with your recollections of your schooldays?
A: This was very different. Very, very, different. We were very peaceful. We wanted to do well, and that was our focus. Of course, in my day, antics took place outside of class, but not during the class. There was always the odd fellow with a little mischief, of course, but back then the teacher had the cane with him at all times and he was not fooling around.
Q: Wouldn’t it be better if teachers were the only adults on school premises?
A: No, no…..One doesn’t have to be a teacher to be a positive presence in our schools.
The mere presence of another adult has an effect. It has a positive impact. We all
live in this society, and it is in our best interest to ensure that these young
people grow up to be respectable and responsible citizens. Therefore, our going into
the schools is a public service that we provide to our country.
Q: Will your visits to the school end when school closes for holidays in December?
A: Oh no. I’ll be doing this for quite some time. It enables me to share my unfolding
observations with policy-makers, and as I said, I owe it to the young people. I owe it
to the country.
Q: Thank you.