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More counseling in schools in pushback against domestic violence; focus on mental and emotional health

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2022. 8:57 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Few analyses of the Patrick Faber domestic violence saga have noted that the man at its center was a long-time teacher and administrator and the longest-serving Minister of Education Belize has had.

Needless to say, his conduct is not the best example for children and young people.

And that is what Minister of State for Education, Dr Louis Zabaneh, recently focused on when we questioned him about the case in an interview. Dr Zabaneh said he unreservedly condemns domestic violence and so should we all, and that no leader worth the label would engage in such conduct.

Dr Zabaneh offered that the easy familiarity our society has with domestic violence is perhaps an outgrowth of the so-called “macho culture” where attention to mental and emotional health is neglected and put aside.

To change that, as part of the Ministry of Education’s revamp of the curriculum there is a rebalancing of the teaching load that will release teachers to be retrained in some cases as counselors and developing a cadre of counselors and social workers.

“This is critical. Lots of the dropouts that occur, especially in high school, are because of emotional issues that young persons have that are not resolved,” said Dr Zabaneh, who added that the service would also be available for teachers having their own stressful situations.

Dr Zabaneh also said that the entire affair serves as a teachable moment for young people, some of whom sadly may see such activity in their homes, or worse, try to emulate it in their own budding relationships.

“We as a society must condemn [domestic violence] in every way but also, as you alluded to, do our best to let especially young people know that these are things that are not right; that if you see it happening in your home, your father hurting your mother or on rare occasions the other way around, that you when you grow up are supposed to do the same thing,” Dr Zabaneh said.


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