Students yet to heal from COVID trauma
WESTERN BUREAU: Clinical psychologist Georgia Rose believes that incidents of violence will continue to plague schools when students return to the classroom for the new academic year as a result of the emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We...
Clinical psychologist Georgia Rose believes that incidents of violence will continue to plague schools when students return to the classroom for the new academic year as a result of the emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will continue to see instances of emotional dysregulation where children are acting out in very violent ways because we have not given them the space to heal from the trauma of COVID,” said Rose, who is also a mental health consultant.
She told a Gleaner Editors’ Forum on Wednesday that during the heightened period of the pandemic, children were forced to carry the workload of heavy subjects in inadequate spaces and time allocated for relaxation and fun.
“We piled on the work even more. We have multiple courses having similar deadlines. There was no affordance for play, there was no affordance for quiet time,” said the psychology coordinator at The University of the West Indies, Mona – Western Jamaica Campus.
Bouts of violence and deadly conflict involving students characterised the return of students to classrooms across the island in March, including the fatal stabbing of William Knibb Memorial High student Khamal Hall on March 21.
He was reportedly stabbed by another student during a dispute over a guard ring.
Violence also claimed the life of Papine High School fourth-former Kenuth Williams, who was stabbed in a reported robbery attempt while walking on Liguanea Avenue in St Andrew. A 16-year-old has been charged with his murder.
A grade 11 student of the Excelsior High School in St Andrew was also stabbed at the gate of the institution.
A brawl at Hopewell High in Hanover also resulted in some students receiving injuries and the suspension of classes for a day.
Several other schools also saw bloody clashes.
Richard Dennis, the National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica’s adviser in Region Four of the Ministry of Education, said that a greater effort would be made to deal with the issues leading to violence in schools come September.
Dennis said that parents would receive training and sensitisation on their roles and responsibilities to their children and how to groom them to ensure that they abide by school rules and settle conflicts without resorting to violence.
“You can have a very good child at home, but when they are exposed to other persons from different backgrounds, then you have different behaviour coming out,” Dennis explained. “We are going to have to get more of our PTA (parent-teacher association) reps to understand the students’ backgrounds, and the guidance counsellors have to become a lot more involved in the process to see how we can, as a PTA, make these boys, these girls, these parents understand.”