JTA, guidance counsellors call for psychological help for students
THE JAMAICA Association of Guidance Counsellors and the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) want psychological help for students to cope with the level of trauma in the society.
The two organisations have decried the incident in St James in which five females, including an eight-year-old, were raped at gunpoint last week.
According to the JTA, principals and teachers in the area have reported palpable fear and anxiety not only among students and teachers in the schools in the area, but also in schools across the island.
"The council is calling on the Ministry of Education, and the other relevant ministries, to immediately provide psychologists and other professionals to assist the schools to cope with the level of trauma being experienced," said a release, which was drafted following a meeting of the General Council of the association.
The JTA added: "Some members of the council recounted other stories about what is happening to children that they see daily and also the impact the situation is having on the teachers and parents. They reported that many children are traumatised and afraid to even leave their classrooms to go to the bathroom by themselves."
The association said it believes that even in the most violent societies, women and children are normally spared.
"It is a sad commentary on our country when the future of our nation is under such attack. We believe that an attack on women is an attack on the profession as most of our members are women and all our children attend schools. We believe the attack on children, both the girls and boys, is also an attack on our functioning as an association as the children are among our main concerns.
Acting president of of the Jamaica Association of Guidance Counsellors, Kayson Jones, reassured the public that the association would be implementing ways to assist students cope.
According to Jones, the association would be meeting this month to initiate and deliberate ways in which issues of trauma among students can be addressed.
"As an association, our position is quite clear, and we are in no way in support of what took place in Montego Bay. We are talking about our most vulnerable here, and so we will be meeting as an association to address these issues and to assist our students in light of recent traumatic incidents that have been happening," he declared.