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PTA chairman calls for parents to help tackle violence in schools

Published:Friday | February 4, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer


JAMAICAN PARENTS need to work more closely with their children's educational institutions in order to build a better country and combat the increasing spate of violence in schools.

Lorna Lawson, Region Four chairman of the National Parent-Teachers' Association, made the call, following a meeting at the Mannings School in Westmoreland on Wednesday.

The meeting was held in the aftermath of an incident at the school on Tuesday, in which four students were stabbed and injured by a knife-wielding schoolmate.

Two of the boys are said to be in serious condition, while a fifth student was still in police custody up to yesterday.

Principal Steve Gordon refused to field any questions or make a statement to the Gleaner news team on Wednesday. Attempts to get feedback from students were also unsuccessful, as they were guarded in relaying information.

Lawson expressed a positive view of Mannings, noting that things appeared to have returned to normal following Tuesday's incident.


"Mannings is a very good school, and from what I understand, the parent-teacher support here is very strong," Lawson declared.

"I understand too that most of the children are serious in what they come to school about. And it's just a small percentage that is really causing problems in the school."

Even so, she conveyed deep concern with the level of violence that is currently being experienced in the nation's schools.

"We, as parents, have to really come together to plan and to enforce more strategies and to see how best we can help to prevent these incidents that are growing in our society," she noted.

"We are concerned, as a nation, about where our children are going. And so, we, as parents, need to really take up the challenge and be even more responsible in working together with the schools."

Tuesday's brawl was the third incident to have occurred at an educational institution in a week. Last week, a 16-year-old student of the Vere Technical High School in Clarendon was stabbed to death at the entrance to the institution. Another incident occurred on Tuesday at St Elizabeth Technical High School, where a boy was stabbed in his head with a pair of scissors by another student.