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Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson today (September 8), implored students to resolve conflicts peacefully and to maintain peaceful attitudes, not only at school, but in their homes and communities as a whole.
“We have to respect each other. We have to respect each person and respect the life of persons. If you have a problem, go to your classroom teacher and if somebody says something that you do not like, do not inflict any wound on anybody, because you cannot bring back that person’s life,” the Minister said.
The Minister was addressing students of the Windward Road Primary and Junior High School during a visit to express her sympathy and concern to the staff and students over the death of second grade teacher, Delta Bailey who was killed recently at her home. Several Ministry officials accompanied the Minister on her visit.
“Practise what we call peaceful conflict resolution.. talk it out, discuss it, but do not fight about it and carry that same attitude home with you. We have to change how we relate to each other, that’s the most important thing. That is what education is about. It teaches you how to discuss things, how to resolve issues and to respect authority,” Mrs. Henry-Wilson told the students.
“So when you are at school, behave the same way in which you behave at home and in the community,” she added.
Addressing the staff, the Minister said the challenge of keeping violence out of school was always a difficult one, as often communities “intruded” on schools.
Mrs. Henry-Wilson encouraged the students to follow the guidance of authority, whether at home or in school. “When you are in school, the principal and the teachers are in charge and when you are at home, your parents are in charge and we don’t want any conflicts from the community to come into the school, because although we are a part of the community, we want to be a beacon here, setting the example for the community,” she said.
Commenting on the death of Miss Bailey, Mrs. Henry-Wilson said the Ministry was deeply saddened at her passing.
“We are very sad, but we learn lessons, that’s the important thing in life. If we have peace and goodwill, all other things will be added unto us. Our older students are at the stage where you can think and make choices for yourselves. You are now becoming young citizens. Whether our society moves forward or backward, is going to be determined by citizens like you and so we want you to set an example and to make sure that the life that you live is going to result in your upliftment, the upliftment of your community and the rest of Jamaica,” she said.
Principal of the school, Norman Malcolm applauded the gesture from the Ministry, saying the concern and support displayed “bring home the fact to us that we are not operating in isolation. The Ministry from day one has been very supportive with everything relating to the death of Miss Bailey”.