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In Trinidad and Tobago the spiraling crime situation has been committed predominately by young males. This study focuses on the relationship between the violence in schools and the crime situation in the wider society in Trinidad.
By curbing school violence it will greatly reduce the criminal activities occurring in society. Studies have shown that young minds are easier to mould rather than adult minds. This strategy is a proactive measure in the reduction in the level of crime in society.
Violence in schools has been a reflection of on the level of crime in the society in Trinidad. Early research has shown that Trinidad was a crime free country, a paradise, where crime was not a concern.
Today, crime is the number one problem which faces the government and people of Trinidad and Tobago. The escalating crime rate in the country affects the economy (investments, business, tourism), society well being and safety. Violence in school was not seen as a contributing factor for crime among male students.
The point in focus is the supervision of young male secondary students from the age of twelve to seventeen (12-17) years which is lacking at their homes and at schools over the years.
Review of literature
School violence in Trinidad have become a serious problem with most recent out breaks of violence among rival schools in El Dorado especially where weapons such as guns or knives are involved. It incorporates violence among school students as well as physical attacks by students on the school staff members.
Many of them are from single parent families most often without fathers and with working mothers. A recent study suggest that "Teens from single-parent or stepparent homes are more likely to commit a school crime (possess, use or distribute alcohol or drugs; possess a weapon; assault a teacher, administrator or another student) than teens from intact homes." (Orr 41)
The current Euro-centric education system does not provide young people with the imperative paraphernalia, discipline and self awareness to survive in the world today. After many years, some children in the public schools are allowed to pass through the school system without gaining a proper education. However, these students find themselves as a social drain on the economy being unemployed, unaccepted and unsuited to society. These persons have a lack of self confidence and find themselves in a total failure syndrome with no way out and nowhere to turn. They in turn hate the education system that did this to them. In their limited reasoning capability/capacity, revenge then automatically becomes the order of the day. They see themselves as miss-fits in society.
Patricia Neufeld conducted an experiment proving that parent involvement causes the reduction of aggression in students to become violent. The experiment concluded that parental involvement was positively correlated with positive student attitudes towards schools and negatively correlated with problem behaviors such as school violence and aggression (Neufeld 207).
Parents who are aware of how their children feel about school can assist them in solving the problems that they may be facing before these children become violent (Neufeld 207). A child whose parents are readily available for him/her is less likely to hold resentment towards their parents, and take their aggression out on classmates at school (Neufeld 207). Parents need to be more involved in their children's' lives and become familiar with their feelings to decrease the animosity that their children feel towards them, so that anger is not brought to school the environment.
This study would be based on the effects of violence among young male secondary school students from the age of twelve to seventeen (12-17) years in Trinidad and the tendency to commit crimes in the future. It would involve a cross sectional survey. Eligible schools within the eight counties in Trinidad would form the sample frame. There are one hundred and one secondary schools with approximately twelve hundred children each, approximately half are males between the ages of twelve to seventeen (12-17) years. The total is approximately one hundred and twenty one thousand children.
All students with records of violent conduct from January 2005 to January 2009 would be surveyed by way of questionnaire. These students will be selected from the school records at the Ministry of Education with permission from the Minister of Education responsible for all schools in Trinidad, also from the Minister of National Security responsible for violence and crime.
The ethical issues raised were that the privacy of student's record was reviewed in order to carry out the exercise. The parents of students, students and principals of schools were assured that the information would be kept confidential by way of a sworn document. However, person who refused to take part in the survey and person who did not return the questionnaire will simply not be considered to protect the privacy of the individual.
One questionnaire was prepared and the survey is to be done in January to March 2010.
The Curepe Junior Secondary School was used in the pilot test and preliminary studies of the survey. It was found that twenty six persons had violent conduct record at the school. Fifteen of them have completed their schooling at this school and out of that number; seven were arrested by the police custody two for serious crimes and the other five for petty crimes.
[i] Donald Orr, "Premature Sexual Activity as an Indicator of Psychosexual Risk, Pediatrics, 87:2, Feb. 1991, 141-7, as cited in Free Teens "Deciding Your Future" multi-media presentation.