Watkis calls for greater collaboration to tackle violence among students
Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
Assistant Commissioner of Police Devon Watkis has called for partnership in tackling crime in schools for the upcoming academic year.
In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Watkis sought to reassure the public that the Safe Schools Branch is making preparations to assist in educational institutions across the island.
"A single event in school is cause for concern, and we have had some unfortunate incidents happening over the last year. Even teachers' lives are at risk, but the fortunate thing is that I know for sure that the Safe Schools Branch is working hard and preparations are in full gear for the new school year," he declared.
Watkis said it was unfortunate that young people of school age were engaged in crime, adding: "My wish is for the parents, the Church, the neighbourhood watches, and other groups to help us in reshaping the thinking and behaviours in these children so that we can have a better future."
He said there was still hope for young people; however, there has to be early intervention when certain behaviours are detected.
"(There are) schools like JC (Jamaica College), where we have seen transformation under the leadership of Mr (Ruel) Reid … . What this shows is that it requires a partnership effort … . It is about getting the right environment and setting out on a path to change behaviours," he said.
He added: "This is something that I know personally. I have many friends who I grew up with whose behaviour wasn't so promising for the future, and while some still give a lot of trouble, there are some that have made a complete transformation. So I appeal to teachers, policymakers, among other stakeholders, not to give up on our young people."