JIS News

The Safe Schools Secretariat recently collaborate with the Culture in Education Programme to organise a ‘Safe Bus Ride’, aimed at encouraging order among students, while they are boarding buses.
The activity, which was held on May 10 and 16 under the theme: ‘Safety, Respect and Order’, saw free bus rides being offered to commuters, who were then encouraged to form queues when entering the vehicles, while the students’ behaviours were monitored.
Targeted were the Jamaica Urban Transit Company’s (JUTC) 75 and 97 bus routes, which made stops at Vauxhall High, Donald Quarrie, Jamaica College and Papine High Schools.
Co-ordinator of the event and Director of the Culture in Education Programme in the Ministry of Education and Culture, Amina Blackwood Meeks, told JIS News that the aim of the sessions was to “get students to understand and to experience order and all the good things that can come from being orderly”.
Speaking of the ‘Safe Bus Ride’ experience she reported that, “they (students) were in such a good mood because no one got pushed, no one got stepped on.”
She pointed out that the theme: ‘Safety, Respect and Order’ served to highlight the need for order on the buses to ensure the safety of passengers.
Mrs. Meeks pointed out that if the Safe Schools Secretariat and its partners could succeed in making the institutions that participated in the effort, “model schools”, then this would encourage the forming of queues to enter buses.
“Our children don’t live in a world by themselves; they can’t be good by themselves. We need to show them that we are willing to do what we are asking of them and this is the way all of us should behave,” she added.
Expressing his support for the initiative, JUTC Sales Representative, Michael Smith said that, “when you form a line, you enter the bus one after the other, which means getting into the bus faster and with much more ease. As a people, we need to go back to the etiquette of olden days and say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and give your seats to the elderly and women when our buses are full.”
He noted that if people constantly fought to get on the buses, this inevitably would mean an added expense for the bus company, as frequent repairs would have to be made to windows and doors that were damaged.
In the meantime, Chairman of the Safe Schools Secretariat, Lieutenant Colonel Oral Khan, while addressing the boys at Jamaica College, the termination point for the May 16 activity, said that “safety should be viewed as a human right, but if you are to enjoy that right, your personal responsibility, conduct and behaviour, will be critical.”
Noting that young men were most susceptible to acts of violence, he urged them to model safe behaviours, which included staying away from dangerous substances, not taking dangerous implements to school, and to be responsible in their sexual conduct, which he said, could mean abstinence.
Turning to the issue of respect, the Lieutenant Colonel emphasised that those who could not abide by the rules and regulations governing a school, would at some point be asked to leave, to create a safe environment for those who wanted to learn. “School is going to be a place where rules are respected,” he affirmed.