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Is crime taking a toll on our children?

Society has drastically changed in comparison to fifteen years ago with crime seemingly spiraling out of control with as many as one-hundred-forty-two murdered in 2017. As a result, many children today are affected by crime having lost loved ones to gun violence. Recently, the students of Queen Street Baptist Primary School lost a classmate to gun violence. Organizations like the National Committee for families and Children have condemned the loss of young lives to gun violence.  Love News spoke with the principal of St. Martin’s De Porres School, Anne Palacio, to find out how the school is assisting children who live in a community where crime has become a part of the culture.

Anne Palacio – Principal, St. Martin de Porres Primary School

“Unfortunately, our children are being faced with lots of trauma and it has only been escalating over the past several years. I am sure that different schools have been doing their best to ensure that our children know that they are loved and they are understood. At St. Martin’s we have very good programmes in place to assist our children in whatever trauma they have experienced. I think that is one of the major things we need to look at, we have to understand that our whole culture of Belize has changed over the past several years when I was growing up we did not see so much trauma in our lives, but now our children are facing them so we need to find solutions that will assist our children in understanding what is going on and for them to cope with it.”

Palacio shared what mechanisms the school has in place to assist these children.

Anne Palacio – Principal, St. Martin de Porres Primary School

“We have a beautiful counseling system including a clinical psychologist at our school because there is only so much our teachers can do. The good part about our children is that they still believe that the school is a safe haven hence the reason the school tries to do its best to ensure the children feel that they are loved and they have a purpose. When they go through these traumas, they feel that if their world has ended and they become angry and frustrated and they say why my mom or why my dad. Being a Catholic school, we then help them to know more about God’s faith and his love for us.”

Palacio explained that crime does affect children academically; however, she added that the child is able to bring back up his/her grades with the school helping that child to deal with the trauma.