BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Prime Minister Mia Mottley has pledged to address violence in schools by introducing several initiatives to stem what she says is “a public health condition”.
The Prime Minister was speaking late last Saturday following a meeting with Police Commissioner Tyrone Griffith, Barbados Defence Force chief of staff Colonel Glyne Grannum, Education officials and others.
The meeting was held in response to the scourge of violence in the school system.
Mottley said that her administration is taking a stance of no-tolerance to violence in schools across the island.
“There can be no tolerance in this country for any child to believe that they are in a position to threaten or attack any teacher or their parents or any adult in this country. If we allow this to happen, we will be surrendering our country to lawlessness and to young people who will not come to appreciate that their behavior is unacceptable in every form,” she said.
“We have a duty as a nation to condition violence out of the next generation.”
The Prime Minister announced that the government will be creating a residential facility which caters to troubled children, and added that within the next two weeks, the Government will be forming a group or committee that will assist in stabilizing and managing of at-risk children.
She also declared that a legislative framework was in the works whereby the chief education officer, in the absence of the parent can consent to intervention for a student. This consent will be given following discussions with the student’s principal, social workers, and psychologists.
Mottley revealed that less than 200 students were guilty of acts of violence or deviant behavior in schools and argued that the initiatives proposed by the Ministry of Education sought to protect troubled students.
More guidance counselors
Meanwhile, Minister of Education Sanita Bradshaw, revealed that an additional guidance counselor will be assigned to the schools deemed at risk. She indicated that the safety officers assigned to the terminals and school routes were expected to work with guidance counselors in identifying students that needed attention.
Bradshaw also announced that social workers will be entering into the primary institutions for the first time to address issues of violence and deviance from an early age.