October 8, 2010

Ministry of Education reacts to student’s passing

Fri, Oct 8, 2010

Message from the Minister of Education,

the Hon. Girlyn Miguel

It was a dark day for us at the Ministry of Education when we learnt of the death of eleven year old Aldon Richards, who attended the Belmont Government School.

The Ministry of Education expresses its deepest condolences to the Headteacher, Staff, Students, family and friends on his passing.{{more}}

We are cognizant of the fact that regardless of the circumstances surrounding the death of a school child, students and teachers may be impacted in a variety of ways. The resulting sadness and sense of loss can impact significantly on students’ social and emotional well-being. Thus, upon receiving the sad news, the Ministry of Education dispatched a group of counsellors to the Belmont Government School to lend the necessary pastoral support, to talk with groups, individual students and staff. Our counselors will continue to work assiduously in ensuring that adequate support is provided for the staff, students and close friends of Aldon.

Our Ministry’s aim is to build greater resiliency in our students, to enable them to cope with life’s challenges, and this is done through our Guidance and Counselling programmes.

Students, let me reassure you that it is natural to experience feelings of surprise, confusion, sadness or fear after the death of someone from your school. As human beings, we must give ourselves time for healing, so do not be afraid to cry and grieve. Students, you must carry fondest memories of your friend, Aldon close to your heart.

I am appealing to our teachers to assist those students who are grieving, in expressing their feelings and reactions in a safe and supporting environment without altering their feelings.

I implore all parents, guardians, caregivers to spend more time listening to their children and encourage the children to talk about their concerns. Parents must also create an environment in which children feel safe, secure, loved and respected. Parents, you must be vigilant in your listening, and as one songwriter says:

Listen to the children;

They have so much to say.

Play the music, hear their laughter,

help them find their way.

Listen to the children

Don’t tear their dreams apart;

Can you listen with your heart?

May Almighty God grant us all strength to cope during this time of bereavement and may He grant Aldon eternal peace.