Chuck pitches dispute resolution programme for schools
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck says his ministry is ready to embark on a programme to take alternative dispute resolution right across the Jamaica, especially in schools, which he claims have now become battlefields. Chuck was speaking yesterday at...
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck says his ministry is ready to embark on a programme to take alternative dispute resolution right across the Jamaica, especially in schools, which he claims have now become battlefields.
Chuck was speaking yesterday at the opening ceremony of the Greenwich Town Restorative Justice Centre located at Seaview Avenue in the St Andrew community.
“We need to be able to urge the teachers to develop some social skills to assist children. No longer are teachers only responsible for teaching maths, English, and social studies. They will now have to learn and be able to impart social skills to the children from prep school,” Chuck said.
Noting that alternative dispute resolution programmes have been able to restore calm and spread harmony in educational institutions across North America, Chuck said that he also intends introduce them in local schools under the child diversion programme.
Bloodshed and even death
Since the full resumption of face-to-face classes after a two-year break as a result of the pandemic, there have been numerous fights in schools, including a few which have ended in bloodshed and even death.
This has triggered calls from school administrators for greater attention to be placed on the resocialisation of the nation’s children.
“Children must learn that they can be different, they can quarrel, but they must not fight and stab up one another. They must learn to control themselves,” Chuck said, adding that funds would be sought from the Ministry of Education, which gets the lion’s share of the Budget, to help drive the programme.
The justice minister said that mentors have been trained to assist children who have gone astray and that those numbers can be boosted to reach more children, who are facing stress as a result of disruptions caused by the pandemic.
“Many of them, because of the communities and families from which they [come], where people resolve their differences with violence, abuses and threats, they [act out] what they see and what they learn in the home and communities, so they have to be retaught how to get along,” Chuck said.
He stressed that Jamaicans must learn to live with one another and resolve disputes in appropriate, peaceful ways.
The Restorative Justice Centre in Greenwich Town is the 20th such facility built across Jamaica.
Chuck reminded stakeholders that the centres are not for people to simply come in, but for the staff and trained facilitators to go into the community and sensitise residents about restorative justice and also about the various services provided by the Ministry of Justice.
Chuck said that every aspect of society, including the Church, neighbourhoods and every “nook and crony”, must aim to access a Ministry of Justice service by calling 888-JUSTICE (587-8423).
“We have enough persons to help abused persons or anyone who need to find justice. We will be taking justice to the people. There is no need to fight, to retaliate, or to use violence; get justice in your lives,” the minister urged residents.
St Andrew South Western Member of Parliament Dr Angela Brown Burke and Greenwich Town Division Councillor Karl Blake have given the project their approval.
A zone of special operation is currently in effect in Greenwich Town.