System-wide Approach Coming to Deal With School Violence


The Ministry of Education is to implement a system-wide policy for minimum safety and security standards in all secondary schools to deal with issues relating to violence and access by persons other than students, teachers and staff at each institution. This was disclosed by Minister of Education, Andrew Holness at the weekly post-cabinet press briefing held at Jamaica House on Wednesday (Feb. 20).
Minister Holness said many acts of violence go unreported and are usually dealt with internally by the school administration. He said based on the growing trend in violent acts on school campuses, decisive action would have to be taken and students found in possession of an offensive weapon must be reported to the police. He said further that the Ministry of Education would be working closely with the Minister of National Security and the Commissioner of Police in deciding on the appropriate response to the spate of violence in schools.
Minister Holness said school administrators will be required to report all incidents of violence to the Ministry. He said this information would enable the ministry to develop a system-wide framework to deal with gangs, possession of offensive weapons, indiscipline and disruptive behaviour. In relation to access to school compound by parents and visitors, the Minister said guidelines were also being worked out and will be circulated to all schools.
He said the lack of proper parenting and a general breakdown in the fabric of the society was at the heart of the problem, but expressed the hope that the guidelines that are being developed would enable teachers and principals to respond appropriately.

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