Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
WITH AT least two videos of gruesome murders involving schoolchildren being posted online since this year and several other incidents of school violence being reported, two stakeholder groups are blaming the society for the rampant brutality in schools.
Executive director of the National Parenting Support Commission, Patrece Charles Freeman, said most of the blame must be placed at the parents' feet.
She said parents cannot continue to solve their problems with violence and riots and expect children to do otherwise.
"Parents need to lead by example because our children are having issues with conflict resolution, and they (children) are not using their fists anymore; they are using knives and guns," Charles Freeman said.
"We need to teach children to talk it out. Teaching children civil disobedience is not the example we want to set," she added
President of the Jamaica Teachers' Association, Dr Mark Nicely, supported this point. He said the issue of school violence extends beyond school gates and is part of a wider societal issue.
"In most instances, it's coming from society and the home, and the school is a reflection of the wider society. So while we can treat the issues in the school, the wider community has to be fixed," Nicely posited.
Both Charles Freeman and Nicely agreed that the school's role in minimising violence is helping students to overcome some of the psychological problems that lead them to violence.
"Parents are sometimes oblivious to what is going on in their children's lives. So parents and teachers need to have greater levels of dialogue with their children and get to understand what's happening and be proactive than reactive," Charles Freeman noted.
In the meantime, the Community Safety and Security Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force said it is making strides in putting a dent in school violence through its Safe Schools Programme.
The Force said, since the programme's inception in 2004, some 153 schools, mostly at the secondary level, are being monitored, and some 150 new school resource officers have been recently trained.
They are expected to start working closely with the deans of discipline in institutions across the island.