A school in the Ewarton area of St Catherine recently marched through the streets to highlight the need for children to be protected amid the wanton murders and other crimes being perpetrated against them nationally.
Members of staff at Orangefield Primary School, along with some 100 students, marched from the school to the community centre where a peace concert was held on May 29. They were joined by residents as well as Hugh Graham – People’s National Party candidate for St Catherine North West.
Guidance Counsellor at Orangefield Primary, Elete Lewis-Christie, indicated that the march was necessary and timely although the Orangefield community does not have a reputation of harming students.
“We don’t have this kind of situation existing in our community. But, if anybody has such an intention to really do such thing to our children, we are sending the message to them ‘don’t hurt our children’,” she told The Beacon.
Lewis-Christie noted: “We marched against the heinous killing of our children and our young people. Hence, we had the theme ‘protect me; don’t hurt me‘. We did it in solidarity with persons who have lost their relatives.”
She further stated that the protest march is done annually, with changing themes that reflect major challenges facing children across the island.
Meanwhile, guest speaker at the recent march, Karen Hamilton-Reid, who is a Guidance Counsellor and Minister of Religion, lamented the various forms of psychological and physical violence perpetrated against children in homes, schools and communities locally.
She urged adults to teach children to protect themselves against predators by – among other things, knowing the difference between good and bad touch, being contented with the resources they have, walking in groups, and reporting offences committed against them.
Hamilton-Reid also declared that giving gifts to children is not enough. She said they should be told how much they are loved, and should be given a sense of belonging.
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