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St James High School creates ‘Student Watch Programme’

Published:Friday | September 9, 2016 | 9:00 AMOkoye Henry
St James High School mural.

Western Bureau:

In a bold and proactive move to curb student indiscipline, the Montego Bay-based St James High School has created a 'Student Watch Programme,' which will also extend beyond the school's campus as it is also geared towards the protection of students on the streets.

The ambitious programme, which was launched at the school on Monday to coincide with the start of the new school year, was developed by the St James High School Past Students' Association (StJHSPSA) and endorsed and adopted by the school's administration.

According to Dennis McKay, the public relations officer for the StJHSPSA, under the initiative, selected members of the public would be provided with a telephone number and would be asked to send pictures and videos of student misconduct or any perceived threat to the school via a hotline, which will be under constant monitoring.

"The aim is that where students are seen in their uniform misbehaving, a picture or video is taken and is 'WhatsApped' to the dean of discipline at the school. Likewise, if anyone of them is found in a dangerous position, we protect them from further harm as well," said McKay, the popular entertainer, better known as Mackie Conscious.

CONSTANT SUPERVISON

"This will put the students on edge, knowing that they are being watched and are under constant supervision by the past students and the wider Montego Bay community," said McKay. "We are embracing the concept that it takes a village to grow a child... . this is about showing our care and concern and wanting the best for these children."

McKay said no effort would be spared in ensuring the success of the programme, which has also received the blessing of the Parent-Teacher Association and the students' council. According to him, he hopes it is something that other schools would want to emulate.

"I am hoping that other schools will follow suit because all children are our children," said McKay, who is also becoming popular for his humanitarian work in Montego Bay. "We just have to find the will to guide these youngsters."

St James High School, which is surrounded by several inner-city communities, was once the most feared school in western Jamaica. However, thanks to the work of the school's principal, Joseph Williams, who has forged an alliance with the StJHSPSA, the school is now basking in the new-found respect it has gained.