It is with great interest I read your publication via the Internet daily in my inbox. Thank you sincerely for this wonderful service! I am saddened to read of all the problems in the lives of the Virgin Island youth and those who are trying to make a difference in their lives. As a former music teacher on the island of St. John, I saw a trend and an attitude that concerned me within the community which the media had taken control of the values of the youth. No longer was the community the major influence but with the addition of cable and so many movies with violent and sexual messages being marketed to the preteen audience it's no wonder it's not worse. So many video games contain graphic violence and the youth have nothing to do but sit around and saturate themselves with these negative influences.
The Virgin Islands will only prosper when it puts its youth first. For too many years the adults have reaped benefits of an improved economy with little trickling down to the youth who must suffer in severe poverty and lack of substantial opportunities to keep their idle hands busy in a productively educational way. In life, we have one of two choices…to build or destroy. If you have ever looked closely at the living conditions of the families in the public housing projects or followed the lives of those who must endure the worst…you will understand why they want to destroy what exists. Nothing could be worse than the hell they're living right now.
For those who live rather comfortably it is hard to relate to their feelings of neglect and abuse. To sit and watch what your family must endure when you see many getting opportunity but it never comes your way. If the school's violence scares all the good teachers away, what type of future can we look forward to if the youth are not prepared at acceptable standards to be able to compete in the world market today?
If the Virgin Islands would truly put it's money where its mouth is…take away some of the limos, first class trips to conferences, repair cracking buildings, even something as simple as lack of toilet paper and soap sends enough message for a revolution!
For too long, the VI Government waits until it has an expensive lawsuit to supply the needs of the unsuspecting youth. More dollars per student and very little going to the needs of the youth. They need musical instruments, woodworking shops, well stocked auto mechanics, computers, talented teachers (with salaries as low as they are – ranking near the lowest in the entire US – it is hard to attract qualified applicants) that will carry the youth in the direction to best serve the future of the beloved Virgins and beyond.
Perhaps, clergy, government, social welfare, and the teacher's union can find a way to service these youth before it's too late and more destruction and death takes place. None of this is good for tourism nor is it good for the morale of the students and the community. Schools must be safe! Stop spending money for yourselves, and start working for one and all!
May this tragedy become a triumph before it gets out of control as it has in France. P.E.A.C.E. Please Educate All Children Everywhere.
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