Mon | Dec 11, 2023

A renewed call to address violence in schools

Published:Wednesday | October 4, 2023 | 12:06 AM


There has been renewed calls and debates about hairstyles in schools – what should and should not be the norm. Where ongoing dialogue is being had, issues such as violence prevention, sex education, promiscuity among the very young and other social ills are not adequately addressed.

A balanced approach in tackling the aforementioned should be had. Too much focus on students’ hair and grooming dominated the reopening of school. A clear understanding of what is acceptable should have been presented to all stakeholders and the seriousness of school articulated.

In a matter of days, there were two reports from two separate schools of two students being hospitalised after being beaten for stepping on their schoolmates’ shoes.

The first incident took place last week Thursday at B.B. Coke High School in St Elizabeth where a 14-year-old boy was badly injured; then on Monday, a 13-year-old girl from Steer Town Academy in St Ann was assaulted by her schoolmates.

This is quite repugnant, disturbing, and heartbreaking and leaves much to ponder about the state of the society we live in and the children being raised.

The attention should now be how do we gear our children to a gentler, kinder society. It cannot be that the first go-to action is violence. Children should be taught conflict resolution. Again, the home is the first school. The school environment does not and cannot provide all the answers.

On introspection, the relevant authorities should bring back the Attitude and Values Programme which was launched by former Prime Minister PJ Patterson in 1994, which served to promote attitudinal change and social renewal.

A call should also be made on civics being a part of the school’s curriculum in order to enhance pride in self and country.

Commendations to the boys who were seen struggling with the badly injured B.B. Coke High School student in getting him transported to a medical facility. Commendations, too, to the Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams; and Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton, who stepped in to get assistance for the injured teen.

We wish for the speedy recovery of both students and continued show of support to them and their families.

All is not lost. Together we can.