Schools say lewd, sexually explicit music distracting students


LEWD, sexually explicit music and early exposure to pornography can have a lasting negative impact on children, psycopathalogist with Children First Camille Lemonious warns.

"Whatever we hear, that is what we become," Lemonious said, responding to a damning Observer investigation over a two-week period which showed schoolchildren and bus crews involved in explicit behaviour while exposed to lewd music in public passenger buses. "When children are in their formative years, music can seep into the subconscious without any effort. Children can't always distinguish what is right and wrong and so they will want to say, practice and experiment what they hear," she explained. "Without a doubt, these types of music will influence their behaviour."
She added that a number of these children will also underperform in school.

"For them to keep awake from 9:00 am 'til 3:00 pm is a big struggle. The interest is just not there," Lemonious said. "Yet if these same children hear a little music is 'pow! pow!' and hands up in the air! They just want to go home and party."

Some guidance counsellors agreed with Lemonious' theory.
"Some students are able to manage and focus on their schoolwork, but for the most part they are distracted," Courtney Thomas, guidance counsellor at St Andrew Technical High school, said. "It boils down to how well they can cope as individuals, but emotional distraction is a big thing for them. There is very little to frighten us anymore. They (children) live in a society where they are exposed to these things and so we have to deal with them in their individual way. In my view, we are an oversexed society in terms of our language, discussions, our music, in the communities - everything is just sex."

According to him once adolescents become exposed to sex, it will captivate and hold their focus.

Osbourne St Bernard Sutherland, guidance counsellor at Kingston Technical High school, has an interesting view. He said the students' behaviour on buses, particularly the girls', give them a sense of personal value and worth.

"It may seem strange, but some see this as giving them some sense of importance to be described in this way," he explained. This, he said, is especially true if they have no father figure.

"They feel a sense of worth if they can appeal to the boys in that way, to be able to make the boys feel a certain way. And what you find is that the music gives momentum to it."

Sutherland feels it is the responsibility of the society to bring children back to a sense of value and morality.

"It is the responsibility of the society - the church, school, media, community - all of us to give them a sense of value and to let them know they do not have to expose themselves to be appealing. It is going to require the effort of all of us."

Pauline Goulbourne and Garfield Jaddoo, guidance counsellors at the Jose Marti Technical High School in Spanish Town, said that some of the students involved in the bus escapades are the same students from the inner-city communities who will confess to going to all-night dances with their parents.

"Dances will keep right through the night and they tell you they went with their parents," Goulbourne said. "Sometimes you feel as if you can't quite reach them. Some of them feel they can't be anything in life, that they are worthless, and so we have to first build their self-esteem."

Jaddoo agrees that many students in and around Spanish Town who display these behaviours are in fact coming from communities where this type of culture is the norm.

"We engage them in group counselling, workshops with parents, community groups and things like that," Jaddoo said. "But sometimes it is being undermined because they go back into the community and see the same things. But you have to encourage them regarding what they want to accomplish. Music is a part of us, it does influence behaviour, but it is how and what you listen to," he said.