Tuesday, October 05, 2010


Little people big problems

Eleven year old Aldan Richards became this country's mst recent suicide after ingesting gramoxone, following an altercation involving him and another student. Richards consumed the toxic substance last Wednesday, Sept 29, following an incident at school. He died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, Saturday October 2nd shortly before 7 pm. (Excerpt from Searchlight's mid week paper). A week or so ago, a thirteen year old girl was also admitted to the hospital after a botched suicide attempt. In that instance the young lady tied a belt around her neck and attempted to hang herself. Little people, big problems. Problems that appeared more than their little beings could bear.

A further reading of the Searchlight's article highlights a tale of a child being bullied by students, deathly scared of a teacher who was too liberal with the belt, terrified of a father who he thought would beat him after the school summoned him to highlight an altercation he was involved in. The story did not delve into the fact that the child was unsuccesful in the Common Entrance Examinations but I feel it impacted on his sense of self. I also believe that failure was also a source of ridicule, given that practically every child gets a place at a secondary school.

I feel gutted that an eleven year old was so overwhelmed by life that he felt suicide was the only answer. Likewise, I worry about a thirteen year old child facing adult problems, most likely not of her making but ones she still has to try and figure out. While these are just two cases I worry about the countless others whose cries for help go unnoticed. Too often, children battle abandonment, sexual molestations, emotional and physical abuse in a period of their development that should be carefree. Little or no attention is paid to the deviant behaviour of our children preferring instead to pass it off as "rude","womanish" or "mannish". Instead, those who are supposed to be their caregivers have become their abusers leaving behind damaged little ones. How many more children must we fail?

I am a product of the education system of SVG and I can personally attest to incidents of being bullied back in the day but here is the funny thing; bullying is not recognised as an issue that must be dealt with holistically within the school system, far less the society as a whole. Our students/kids are told in no uncertain terms to fight their own battles and if you don't, crappo smoke your pipe. Plus, boys have the added pressure of societal take on what constitues being a male; hence they have to pretend to be someone they are not and this often leads to unforseen consequences.

Its a pity that this kid had no one to turn to or so he may have thought; as is the case of most victims of bullying. Bullying is a legit issue for schools but I am not sure if the issue is even on the radar of schools in SVG. I hope the Ministry of Education take a closer look at this issue and put some policies in place to address this issue. I know most of our educators in SVG are only concern about giving us information to pass a particular test but our teachers and educators have to start taking into consideration that they are sometimes more than just teachers to some kids.

I wonder if any politician took the time to acknowledge this very very sad story.I hope this story is not nine days talk and someone will bring this issue of bullying to the forefront and shed and keep a light on it. I suspect there are many other kids in our homes and schools feeling the same way Aldan felt.

I can't recall another case where a kid in SVG committed suicide in such a situation; as a matter fact I cannot recall a kid this young ever committing sucicide in Vincyland...I am sure someone will correct me if I am mistaken.In this regard I would like to suggest that some piece of law, policy,legislature, programne,etc dealing with bullying;be symbolically be made in the name of Aldan.Its important that we show genuine concern to the welfare of our young people.We have do everything to prevent such a tragic outcome from happening again.

...Wonderful blog Abeni.
Totally endorse everything you say. This week the newspapers had some follow up with a little insert from a counsellor but I figure it will blow over.Some persons are trivialising it but then that's too be expected given that too many think beating up a child is quite okay
very sad story. I dont think adults understand or remember the pressures kids are under. Yea childhood is supposedly the best time of your life but there are so many pressures to fit in, to be cool, to be liked, to be not dumb. basically its stress but adults dont remember or understand
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