Jones calls for crisis meeting
The various stakeholders in education need to sit down and find solutions to deal with violence in schools.
This suggestion came yesterday from Minister of Education Ronald Jones, in the wake of a violent cutlass attack at The Ellerslie School last Wednesday, which left a 17-year-old student with serious lacerations to an arm, a finger severed and another partially severed.
Jones and the ministry took a beating from the teachers’ unions last week for not responding in a timely manner when concerns of violence in schools were raised at the level of the ministry. The lament of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) was the failure to follow through with a special meeting since May 2016 to look at establishing a special committee to deal with violence in schools.
One intervention suggested by Jones was the possible involvement of the Barbados Defence Force and the Barbados Youth Service to deal with students who accumulated more than one strike for anti-social behaviours.
He said the New Horizons Academy, constructed on the site of the old Erdiston Primary School, was located for children who displayed deviant behaviour, was not equipped to deal with students who were on the cusp of the justice system.
“Where you have situations where there is extreme brutality and things of that [nature], that means that is a severe character flaw. Teachers are not equipped to deal with that. New Horizons carries teachers. The persons that are disciplined enough and would have the kind of training and background would be those who are in the forces of Barbados. There would have to be a programme set up deal with those children.
“You don’t want them necessarily to go to Dodds . . . . It is to find all kinds of mechanisms that can stop these young people from causing harm to each from being joined with other miscreants in the society to cause havoc in the wider society. So it is a search, and what I suggested is only a view. One would have to sit down with everybody and work out the best mechanism that would take some of these students who are prone to violence,” Jones stated.
He also mentioned the possibility of introducing a new cadre of laws in education to help arrest the seeming increase in violence in schools. (YB)