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Dr Jerome Teelucksingh

Crime in Trinidad & Tobago will persist unless counsellors are placed in all schools to assist vulnerable children particularly boys, says Founder of International Men’s Day Dr Jerome Teelucksingh.

Speaking to Guardian Media in observation of the International Day of the Boy Child, Teelucksingh said the biggest challenge facing boys are a lack of proper role models within the home, schools and community.

He said a properly monitored mentoring programme should be launched in all communities, especially those where there are fatherless children.

“This has to be monitored properly and assessed because we don’t want to know there is a mentoring programme where boys are physically or sexually abused,” he said.

Teelucksingh added: “We also need to have guidance counsellors in every school.

“We have schools with technology and smart boards and laptop but they don’t have counsellors and teachers don’t have the time to counsel children who are being bullied. We need therapists and peer counsellors.

“Just as they import nurses, we should think about importing counsellors for all schools. That should be a priority,” Teelucksingh added.

He said boys were underachieving.

“It seems many of our boys do not want to appear to be studious because they will be bullied,” Teelucksingh said.

“Somewhere along the journey from boyhood to manhood, boys are socialised not to express the natural and spontaneous reactions to spiritual, physical, emotional, and psychological pain, disappointment, and rejection.

“They are socialised to equate strength and masculinity with suppressing their natural and spontaneous reaction to pain, disappointment, and rejection; not asking for help; and shunning vulnerability,” he added.

In observance of “World Day Of The Boy Child” to be held on May 16, 2020–Teelucksingh said the theme will be “Empowering, guiding and providing role models for a peaceful world.”

Teelucksingh said the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development noted that boys globally are academically underperforming. He said several suggestions were made to assist boy children.

These include forming partnerships with educators, school administrators, law enforcement professionals, legal professionals, healthcare professionals and providers, social services professionals and providers, parents, legislators, business leaders, and Fatherhood and Men’s Issues advocates and practitioners.

Recommendations were also made to employ male educators and administrators in schools and communities that have Fatherless households or households devoid of a dominant male presence.