Black Immigrant Daily News
While bemoaning that schools have become virtual battlefields, where it is no longer just schoolchildren who are involved in violent conflicts, but also teachers fighting back against students who attack them, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck says restorative justice in schools is greatly needed to resolve such festering issues.
Just this week, a male teacher was caught on a now viral video issuing death threats to a male student while telling the boy that he had killed before. The educator was also seen chasing a schoolboy.
The board of Newell High School in St Elizabeth, where the incident took place, called an emergency meeting for last Friday, to address the development, and there have been media reports since then that the male teacher is to be suspended.
Chuck, speaking at a Manchester alternative dispute resolution forum at Church Teachers’ College in Mandeville on Friday, argued that schools should not become battlefields where violence is being played out among those who are key to education.
“The truth is, schools have now become battlefields where not only (are) schoolchildren fighting one another, but, regrettably, children are fighting teachers and teachers are… fighting back,” he lamented.
He said the capturing of these violent occurrences in schools on videos result in the videos not only being played locally, but globally.
On that score, Chuck stressed that such developments are giving schools and Jamaica on a whole, “an extremely bad name”.
Continuing, he said: “This is not what schools are supposed to be.
“Schools are where we really cater to our children, educate and engineer them into becoming good adult citizens. But when there are conflicts, when there is tension, when there is fear in the schools, it is almost impossible for our children to learn properly,” declared Chuck.
The Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Education and Youth, in recognising these issues plaguing the school environment, have jointly decided to enter into a memorandum of understanding “for schools to invite the alternative dispute resolution personnel in all the parishes,” Chuck announced.
He said particular emphasis will be placed on restorative justice through the partnership, with the long-term goal being to have as many dispute resolution personnel as possible all the schools.
“… (This will be done) to see how we can have conflict resolution being done,” stated Chuck.