Dangerous kids won’t be forced into classrooms

| 04/10/2011

(CNS): The education minister says parents do not need to worry that their children will be sitting next to anti-social or dangerous students in the classroom as a result of the closure of the Alternative Education Centre. Speaking about the recently announced changes in the Legislative Assembly on Friday, Rolston Anglin said that the school system’s most challenging students will still be in separate accommodation. He explained that children with emotional behaviour or social difficulties (EBSD) will now be supervised in behavioural units which have been established in each of the high school campuses, with the most difficult children going to the new therapeutic centre at Bonaventure.  

He explained that, as a result of the failure of the AEC and the problems identified there by the Education Standards Assessment Unit’s school inspectors, the unit had been closed and the issue of troubled kids would now be dealt with differently.

The inspectors found that AEC was disconnected from the mainstream education system and teachers there didn’t know enough about the educational history of the students to give them appropriate work. This had led to a high rate of drop out from education altogether and very few students were integrated back into the mainstream education system, as was intended.

Anglin said the new approach would allow the least challenging EBSD students to integrate into mainstream education and “learning bridges” would help them pass exams or take up vocational training. He said in-school support for EBSD children had been enhanced with the employment of specialist teachers for the behavioural units at the high schools, along with targeted intervention programmes.

The minister revealed that an alternative education facility would remain during the transition period at the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre for students awaiting transfer to the therapeutic centre or in need of emergency placement outside the mainstream environment. The goal, the minister revealed, was to move away from the very separate unit for challenged students towards an approach that was about intervening earlier and handling the behavioural issues on the school campuses rather than excluding troubled youngsters.

He spoke about recommendations made by Yolande Forde in her comprehensive report regarding the causes of criminal behaviour in Cayman, published in 2006. Anglin said that she had pointed to the problems of a traditional punitive response to behavioural problems in school which did not address the cause of a student’s misbehaviour: “A punishment-centred approach is primarily reactive and myopic because it allows authorities to respond to the symptoms and outcomes while the causes of the misconduct frequently go unaddressed.”

Anglin said the change now represented a shift from a reactive response to bad behaviour to systematic approaches that deal with early identification, assessment and therapeutic intervention.

The minister told his legislative colleagues that the most difficult students would be attending residential therapy at the Bonaventure home, which will be accommodating ten of the public school system’s most challenging students by the middle of this month. The Youth Rehabilitation Centre, which will form part of the redeveloped residential accommodation and deal with young offenders, will open in January 2013.

The minister said that in general, exclusion from school can no longer been seen as part of the solution.  As pointed out by Forde, the students in question are not someone else’s problem but belong to this community as they are the children at greatest risk of future involvement in crime.

“They are not going anywhere. They stay within the limited confines of this island and become the criminal element that places all of us at risk,” he said, echoing the warnings Forde made in her report. Illustrating the point, he added that five of the six victims in the shootings last month were former AEC students.

“The restructuring of AEC was long overdue,” he said, adding that for the first time the changes would see alternative education services strategically planned rather than reactive, aligned with  the curriculum in the mainstream system, cost effective and accountable and focussed on therapy, intervention and reintegration.

Pre-disposing factors to criminality in the Cayman Islands by Yolande C. Forde

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  1. SUPPORT assistant says:


    It same to me that some people think by sending their kids to private school and paying high school fees will keep their kids from the problem of society.

    Don’t private schools have “bad kids”? Don’t they have parents that don’t care? Don’t they have parents that pass on bad habits to their kids?  Don’t they have students that are not interested in learning or have difficulty learning?  Don’t they have teachers that are working just for their salary and sun with no interest in their students?  Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!  In my opinion there are only a few differences between private schools and public schools.

    When parents dip in their pockets to pay for schooling they are more demanding and they hold someone accountable for the kid’s education.  Who do we hold accountable in public schools? Another difference, private schools are not used on political platforms or revamp their educational system every time a different party is in office and most important WHERE ARE THE PARENTS?

    The question I ask myself is, are we having these problems because we have bad schools, bad parents and bad teachers?  Or maybe we are having these problems because we want to put all students in box and are not seeing them as individual.


  2. Anonymous says:

    Have any of the commenters stopped to think, Why is it that these kids behave this way?

    It is so easy to say separate them or I don't want my kid mixed up with those children. If any of you had the opportunity to sit and listen to what these kids go through or have gone throughmaybe that will change your mind.

    They aren't "Troubled" or "Dangerous" youth they lack guidance and providing this is not just up to the schools, it requires home and community involvement.

    So I would urge you to stop with the negative comments and think about what you would ike if it was your child in this position, assuming that you'd care. Many of this kids don’t have positive individual who care about them in their lives.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So the AEC doesn't work? What does it do?

    Does it have psychologists following these kids during their time there?  Are there mentors assigned to them? Are life skills provided to them?  Are they taught appropriate social skills?

    If AEC is a special center which deals with these kids, then special programs should be assigned.  They should also be followed much more closely than other kids.  Letting the child go home at 2:30-3:00 should not be allowed.  The kids leave at 5:30 when the parents pick them up.  From 2:30 until 5 special programs teaching various life skills are mandated.  Whether it is simple ettiquette to teaching appropriate behaviours, teaching various trades that can translate into real jobs.  Having their mentors spend time with them during this time. 

    The day teacher would not be responsible for them at that point.  So people don't complain that it would be a long day for a teacher.  The AEC should not have only one individual with them all day but a variety of individuals with a hierarchy for oversight.  It would be tiring to keep up with monitoring troubled kids. 

    Though my real opinion on these kids is that the AEC should be run by ex military turned into teachers.  These people would have the personality to deal with these type of students.  Not the little idealistic recent graduate university student turned teacher.  A person that is tough and that has experience to say to these kids that you really are a punk, man up, do what you need to do to better yourself.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Did Rolston actually read the report or just the cliff notes version?  Ms. Forde doesn't have the true expertise to write this report, which is really rehashed work she did elsewhere while being able to say in Cayman.

    As an educator, I beleive that there are students who can be put back into the "main stream" setting, but it takes a lot of work and they never should be placed there without the proper habits/assessment.

    Rolston to say, "didn’t know enough about the educational history of the students to give them appropriate work", means that the PUBLIC school systme didn't provide the AEC enough information, and he faults the AEC?  

    Finally, parents you know from early ages (2-3) if your child is having issues (whether your fault of not) and needs extra help.  You should get the help your child needs at THAT point, not whine later on because no one is babying your "child" at age 16,17,18.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with your points, but on what basis do you say that Ms Forde does not have the expertise? I think this would be helpful for the discourse.

  5. Worried Mom says:

    Please do not send them to Grace academy. My kids go there.

  6. Worried Mom says:

    Please do not send them to Grace Academy. My kids go there

  7. Anonnymous says:

    2006???!!!  Is this one of these reports that our Government(s) are so famous for commissioning at tremendous cost and then used to decorate someone's bookshelf in their office?

  8. Anonymous says:

    What exactly is a dangerous kid Roslton? This is exactly the problem. Those children that Education officials beleive to be problems are tossed aside. There is no one there to PUSH them in the right direction. Why doyou think we have so much crime in our islands today? It would probably amaze people to see how intelligent some of those "troubled youth" are. But instead of being humanitarious and TRYING with them they are taken out of school and put along with others that will only continue to be lead astray. We need to get to the root of the problems and not try to toss the problems aside. We need to figure out, from a young age, where the child has or is going wrong. They too need encouragement and maybe even more attention than the "stars" in the classroom. They need mentors not alternatives. The more they push your buttons the more you have to be the ADULT and set your foot down. Not the Education Minister looking at them and calling them dangerous. Not teachers and peers calling them stupid and that they will never amount to anything!

    • ? says:

      Stop all this BS! Wait until it is YOUR kid being bullied and being deprived of his/her rightful education. I bet you your story will change.Too many good kids and their parents have to bend over backwards for these hoodlums.

      I have tried mentoring troubled youths here in the Cayman Islands. They sit across the table from you looking at you as if they are doing you a favor for showing up to the assigned time slot. They don’t want to be there and they let you know it. Give me a kid who wants mentoring and help and I will most gladly do it. Don’t waste my valuable FREE time and effort with people who quite frankly really don’t care about you, themselves or being there. In my book, a kid that bullies or a kid that totes a gun, is dangerous and I wouldn’t want him sitting next to my son or daughter in class.

      On another note, any teacher who calls any student stupid, is not worthy of carrying the title of ” teacher”. However, I can understand that in a moment of weakness, we can all say things that are less that stellar. Teachers are EDUCATORS and not there to babysit other people’s brats.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, maybe you have kids. Hopefully one of yours won't be deemed as a dangerous person. And maybe then YOU will have a change of heart. People seem to think that because they are "so high and mighty" and they spend a lot of money and resources on their children that they cannot be lead astray. Or maybe it could be your daughter that ends up with one of those dangerous boys… Im sorry that you think that it is BS to want to try to help someone.

        • Anonymous says:

          Another typical example of the rampant denial in Cayman. Sorry to say but I am pretty sure that a child is not labeled as "dangerous" for no reason.

        • ? says:

          You completely misunderstand my post. I don't believe it is BS to help people. I still help kids who need and want help. LIke I said, I have tried to help these dangerous kids. I have sat across from them, talked to them, tried to helpthem, even took time from my own loaded professional schedule to mentor and teach them, with no remuneration at all, because I believed I could help. Read my post again!

          I do have kids and I do my utmost to be involved in their lives. My children know boundaries and limitations and they darn well know when something is unacceptable. I don't make excuses for their behaviour, but teach them the difference between right and wrong. They know what we as their parents believe. They know that there are consequences to any choices they may make and they have suffered the consequences of bad choices. What I will not do is "pussy foot" around my kids or make excuses for them when they are clearly in the wrong.

          Yes, perhaps my sons may end up a gangster or my daughter the "baby mamma" of one. That will be their choice which I will not support. They know that. I also firmly believe that children who grow up in stable homes with strong role models are less likely to be lead astray. I hope that I am teaching my children to have enough respect for themselves and those around them to make the right and decent choices in life.

  9. Anonymous says:

    If you were one of these children, wouldn't you want a chance to be in the regular classrooms?


    If you were one of these children, wouldn't it be better to integrate them with "normal" students to try to change their anti-social behavior?


    isn't isolating these children only making it worse for them as they feel they ARE being isolated from society and normalcy and they have no one to depend on but themselves?


    These children need to observe proper social behaviors, mix with "normal" students, see the opportunities available to someone who is "normal", then they may change their "anti-social" behavior.

    • Anonymous says:

      What a load of woolly touchy feely left wing horse manure Tue 11;22. My bet is you are an armchair critic/observer who has never actually dealt with problems of this sort and who has not had your own kids in classes with the sort of "children" we are talking about here.

      • Anonymous says:

        If these parents (because that's who is writing these comments) have really tried with their children – I mean REALLY tried – then I can agree with their comments. I know parents like this, who are there for their children day in and day out. And I don't mean they're spoiling them – instead they're instilling responsibility and good, civic values in them. This happens at any socioeconomic level, because it's not about income, it's about your character.

        But if you're the sort of parent who left your kids with the helper or grandma so that you could go clubbing, or you have no issues cussing in front of your kids, or dress your babies in hoochie mama clothes and think that when they mouth off or say something "smart" that it's cute, I have absolutely no sympathy for you.

        I instead have sympathy for the rest of us, because then you ask for us to take care of your "baby" by allowing them to get away with all kinds of foolish and criminal behaviour, or to pay for their Northward hotel stay.

    • Anonymous says:

      If they don't want to be there it will be dangerous for the good kids. most of these problem kids just want to leave to carry on badness. They will only make more trouble if they ae forced to be some place they don't want to be

  10. Anonymouse says:

    Poor Bonaventure, again being distracted from its purpose as a home for boys who need a home. Now they're also getting the kids so problematic that the Education Department (who have been adding staff to handle these kids they say) don't want them.

    And the Forde report? Really? Go see where it was published and then start asking why it wasn't 'published' in Cayman. – This isn't a problem with the report. Its a 'problem' with what the report said.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If they couldn't be controlled in the "special school" after six years how on earth are they going to control these kids in government school.  You officials talk so much crap and we have to keep eatting it

  12. Anonymous says:

    Rolstons language – like "learning bridges" – is his chief officers jargon which we teachers are having to learn. As long as disruptive student are on the same school compound (even if they are in a separate building), there will be problems before and after school and at break and lunchtime. Yolande Forde's comments have merit but they are of course those of an academic who can say things like "the problems of a traditional punitive response to behavioural problems in school" without actually having to come up with an alternative "magic" solution to dealing with these kids in a "normal" school setting.

    • Anonymous says:

      Regardless of what Alternative the officials come up with for these problem children during their time in the Education System there has to be something in place for them when they are out of the system. The ptoblem did not start at AEC and one can not expect to change lives within a short period of 2-4 years unless the individual wants that change. A fool knows that the early years are the formative years. Get help for these poor souls before it is too late at the age of 12 and 15  they are already set in their ways

  13. King of Diamonds says:

    Just send your kids to a private school and avoid the troublemakers very easily.