Director of Education Clare Browne will convene a high-level meeting today to address the rise in youth violence in Antigua and Barbuda.
Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney, and Chief of Defence Staff, Colonel Telbert Benjamin, are expected to be in attendance.
They will be joined by school principals, representatives from the National Parent Teachers’ Association, counsellors, the Ministry of Education and Sports’ Truancy Department, the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers (A&BUT) and other stakeholders.
While the agenda items are unknown, it is believed that gang violence among students will be discussed at length.
The recent increase of teenage boys being viciously attacked by their peers has sparked public debate with many calling for the police, the Ministry of Education and Sports and other government agencies to crack down on the worrying development.
Over several months, a number of teens have been attacked and sustained injuries inflicted by cutlass-wielding young men.
It is believed that the attacks are coordinated and are being carried out by members of at least two gangs populated by teenagers.
The police have not yet issued a comment on the veracity of these widely held allegations.
Stakeholders at today’s meeting are expected to arrive at a solution to stamp out the burgeoning problem.
Meanwhile, the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda has issued an appeal for parents to provide greater supervision to their children.
The statement is in relation to the attacks being carried out by teens on their peers.
The RPFAB posited that the recent upsurge in violent youth behaviour is partly due to some parents’ failure to adequately support and nurture their children.
“This lack of involvement on the part of some parents in the lives of our youths is reprehensible, and should no longer be tolerated.
“In an effort to have the matter properly addressed, the police will be collaborating with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders, including some of the parents, to assist our youths in fulfilling their potential to become positive citizens in Antigua and Barbuda.
“Members of the public are also asked to get involved and report any suspicious gatherings or disorderly behaviour among young people to the police without delay.
“The police will be expecting the full cooperation of everyone going forward,” the statement concluded.