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The Ministry of Education, through its Guidance and Counselling Unit, is providing support for students, teachers and parents affected by the security operation in West Kingston.
Portfolio Minister, Andrew Holness, will be visiting schools in the area when they reopen on Monday (June 7), for support sessions with teachers and students. The schools have been closed since the start of the joint police/security operation on May 24.
As stated in a release from the Ministry, Mr. Holness will use the opportunity to express his support and put a sustainable framework in place for further assistance going forward.
Already, a toll-free counselling helpline, 1-888-429-KARE (5273), has been set up through the assistance from mobile service providers, LIME, Digicel and Claro.
The teaching staff of affected institutions have also benefitted from support sessions and provided with resources and age appropriate approaches to be used in dealing with traumatised students and families, when schools re-open next week.
These sessions were held earlier this week in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Early Childhood Commission (ECC) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).
Alliances have also been forged with sister ministries, agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), faith-based organisations (FBOs), the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) and academia, to identify existing counsellors and their levels of training, in order to create a wide scale counselling and referral system. The alliance began its work with juveniles detained in the operation.
The Ministry has also sourced support material for teachers/guidance counsellors to aid in trauma and bereavement therapy sessions in schools. This includes the acquisition of art and play therapy material as well as the organisation of day trips with counsellors out of the affected area, to ensure that counselling also occurs outside of clinical settings.
Short, medium and long-term plans have also been developed to embed trauma therapy/counselling into teaching practice, while basic information on coping with crises for teachers and parents, has been disseminated to all schools island-wide.
The Ministry has commended the various individuals and organisations, that have provide assistance and is appealing for additional support, including journals for students and teachers, art therapy materials such as paint, markers, crayons, paint by number sets, craft making kits and paper, as well as assistance with the transportation of students from affected areas.
Please contact the Ministry of Education at 502-5804 for more information or drop off donations at the Guidance and Counseling Unit at the Ministry of Education’s Caenwood Centre, 37 Arnold Road, Kingston 5.

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