(Education Media Unit – EMU) – St. Kitts, May 16, 2012:
The recent launch of “Operation Keep Safe Keepsake” at Saddlers Secondary School brought community professionals together to assist youth in making positive decisions geared at enhancing the quality of their lives.
Guidance Counsellors at the school noted that boys and girls were engaging in inappropriate sexual behaviour earlier than desired. They responded proactively by organizing the programme for parents and students.
Deputy Principal at Saddlers Secondary School Daryll Lloyd noted his disappointment with the low turn out of parents to the first session. He said based on the value of the information that was to be shared with participants he believed that the investment in time by teachers and other professionals should be appreciated. He explained that the programme was intended for parents and students from Mansion to Tabernacle and suggested that parents who had not managed to attend, endeavour to do so in the future.
He added that the programme seeks to instill positive moral values in youths and admonished them to await marriage to become involved sexually.
Former National HIV/AIDS Coordinator Mavis Huggins commended the Guidance counselors for their innovative approach to handling sexuality issues in the school. Ms. Huggins was very complimentary in her remarks about the adult professionals who had taken the time to make presentations to “Operation Keep Safe Keep Sake”. She advised participants to take this opportunity seriously and secure their futures as a result.
Nurse Simonetta Phillip shared that having early sexual encounters is risky behaviour and advised parents to get in tune with their children to be able to determine negative changes in their attitudes which are most often associated with negative lifestyle changes.
Also addressing individuals who attended the session was Police Sergeant Jacqueline Browne who emphasized further the support offered to young persons who have been violated.
She referred specifically to one young lady who said she had not told anyone about her experience earlier because of the shame she felt as a result of what had happened to her. Sergeant Browne added that the young girl said she was amazed at how much assistance she received once she revealed that she had been violated.
Guidance Counsellor, Clifford Pemberton said he was committed to seeing “Operation Keep Safe Keepsake” continue over the long term and to see it expanded to other schools and communities as it continues to be fine tuned at Saddlers Secondary.