School Brawls Prompt Ministry Response R. Wilson Story Updated: March 24th 2015 at 4:29 pm
Videos of violent brawls in a number of high schools have come to the attention of school officials and elicited strong condemnation. The cellphone videos have been circulating recently, showing fights between female students and in one case, a male and female. In one video, recorded by a student on his/her cellphone, a female wearing business attire, alleged to be a parent, enters a high school and confronts a female student. The encounter became violent with clothes being torn off. That matter was reported to the police. One of the fights was shown on the local TV station. In a statement issued by the Ministry of Education today (Mar 24), it was made clear that violence in the nation’s schools will not be tolerated by those in authority. The Ministry said, “I n light of the most recent acts of violence which have gained momentum in the media, the Ministry of Education has reaffirmed its zero tolerance policy toward violence in its schools.” Education Minister Hon. Shawn Richards also voiced his disapproval of the incidents. ” Violence in our schools will not be tolerated and those who engage in or incite violence among our students will be held accountable, especially the aggressors.” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Ionie Willett told The Observer there are many programs within the school system to address violence and promote peaceful conflict resolution. Some of these include counselling by trained personnel, Project Purple, Child Friendly Schools (CFS) and TAPS. She said when incidents occur such as what transpired recently, the Ministry meets with the school principal, parents and students involved to discuss the implications of the students’ actions. She said the fights were regrettable and detracts from the many positive activities the federation’s young people are presently engaged in. Minister Richards also called for the spotlight to be refocused and “highlight schools’ positive programs as a means of empowering youth, rather than emphasizing the negative occurrences which can paint an inaccurate or unbalanced picture”.