Thu | Sep 20, 2018

Alternative to tackling youth violence

Published:Wednesday | August 29, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I'm writing in response to the article titled 'Teachers are being abused in schools, says JTA boss - Appealing for help to combat violence' published on Tuesday, August 28, 2018.

I agree that the violence displayed by our youth is troubling and of immediate concern, though it is important to note that this is the violence that is reflected in our society at large.

Children learn most readily by observation, and if violence is generally accepted as a means of conflict resolution in our society, how else can our children behave? Isolating the 'troubled few' is decidedly not the answer. This 'solution' will only teach the 'troubled few' that they are inherently problematic, and will further teach the 'good ones' that the best way to solve a problem is to remove it from view.

Here, I suggest the introduction of social emotional learning - targeted schoolwide interventions that support all youth in developing self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness.

The development of these five competencies has been proven by decades of research to predict academic and social success in children, through adolescence and into adulthood. These programmes must include ALL youth, not just 'the troubled few', if sustainable change is to be effected.

JESSICA THOMPSON

jessicathompson@centredja.com

Kingston 6