Students from the Dunnottar School, accompanied by their Principal and teacher, met Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony on Thursday, February 27, 2014, to air concerns about equal opportunity for children with special needs in Saint Lucia.
High on their agenda was the issue of bullying. Many complained that they are being treated unfairly by their peers and the public. According to the students, this leads to extreme discomfort and frustration.
In their exchange with Prime Minister, it was suggested that more be done raise the level of awareness in the public domain, to ensure that there is respect and care when dealing with children with developmental disabilities. The Prime Minister, in his response, committed to initiating a public awareness campaign, calling for love, patience and respect for the special people among us.
During the two hour discussion, the students addressed the issue of unemployment among their group, which they say, forces them to remain in school. Given their talents and discipline, the general view was that more should be done to encourage both the private and public sectors to utilize their skills.
The students voiced their concerns on the crime situation and called for greater financial assistance for their school.
Prime Minister Anthony says he is overjoyed that he was able to meet the students.
“I have developed a special relationship with the students of the Donnottar School. Last year, we met at a ceremony where laptops were made available to them, to assist in their education. At the time, it was felt that equality and fairness should be introduced into the Government’s “One Laptop Per Child” initiative. This was in response to a concerned raised by one of their students,” Anthony said.
The issue of fairness still remains. On Tuesday, the students raised a number of areas, where they felt more can be done to recognize their special abilities. It was felt that more should be done to promote an inclusive society which enhances their chances of being employed and protects them from abuse.
“I have noted the concerns raised and have begun the process of a sensitization campaign,” the PM says.
The students presented to Prime Minister Kenny Anthony cards and letters which documents their views as well as a “Dunn Doll” made by students at their school.