Fri | Jun 5, 2020

Gleaner Editors' Forum | JTA says yes to time-out facilities for students

Published:Friday | September 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer

The leadership of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) has fully backed the establishment of time-out facilities to assist in the rehabilitation of students who exhibit behavioural problems, arguing that they can no longer tolerate the hostility meted out to other students as well as teachers and school administrators.

The education ministry opened two centres this month at Alpha Boys' School in Kingston and the St John Bosco Boys' Home in Mandeville, Manchester.

Speaking at a Gleaner Editors' Forum on Thursday at the company's North Street offices in Kingston, JTA President Garth Anderson declared the move to set up time-out centres as timely, noting that teachers were spending too much of their time dealing with a "handful" of unruly students when they should be treating with students who were ready to move on with learning.

"I firmly believe that the majority of our students are well-behaved students, so we have to treat with the few," asserted Anderson.

Anderson's comments come against the background of the controversy surrounding the recent move by Calabar High School to bar more than 30 students from entering fifth form at the institution after they failed to attain averages of 60 per cent or above despite interventions from the leadership of the school.

Parents of the students and ministry officials have since met, the latest discussion having taken place on Tuesday, where it was reported that five parents had already sought alternative placement, one child reportedly has migrated, eight had been previously reinstated, and eight parents requested help from the ministry to find alternative placements for their children as they wanted a new environment for them.

As it relates to the 11 remaining students, education minister Ruel Reid, who had disagreed with the action of the school and ordered the boys reinstated, said on Wednesday that he has asked the regional director to find the students so that they can be enrolled in other programmes such as the Career Advancement Programme.

Chief Education Officer in the Ministry Dr Grace McLean has indicated that 12 other time-out facilities are to be opened across the island.