Jones announces committee to probe violence in schools

The Ministry of Education is to establish a broad-based committee to investigate violence in schools.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones today announced that the committee would be responsible for looking into student-on-student violence and student-on-teacher violence. It will also investigate any cases of teacher-on-student violence “if that exists”.

Ronald Jones
Ronald Jones

Jones said the committee would provide recommendations on how to resolve the issue and enhance security at schools.

The minister said it made no sense talking about violence in schools and “expanding it into this most explosive thing” without a complete picture of what was happening within the school and the external factors that influenced this bahaviour.

He said the Barbados Christian Council, the grouping of evangelical churches, the National Council of Parent Teachers Associations, the unions representing teachers and principals and non-governmental organizations would be invited to join the Ministry of Education on the committee, which he anticipated would be established within the next week.

Jones also announced that a survey would be carried out among students to guage the dynamics of violence in schools.

However, he made it clear that the ministry did not want teachers to be exposed to acts of violence, or for teachers to precipitate violence on students. He said there was also a need to design programmes to improve the coping skills of teachers in a changing school environment.

Following a meeting with its members last Friday, President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Pedro Shepherd said teachers wanted to meet with Jones to discuss issues affecting them, including a recent spate of violence against teachers.

At today’s press conference, Jones was adamant that in the last two months, the ministry had met with the teachers unions, including the BUT, and concerns were laid on the table and discussed.

Parliamentary Secretary Harry Husbands supported Jones’ contention, revealing that only last week, Chief Education Officer Karen Best met with the BUT to discuss the alleged maltreatment of a primary school student by a teacher and the incident at Ellerslie Secondary School in which a student is said to have spat on and kicked a teacher. That incident led to both the BUT and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union calling out their members last week and the BUT’s demand to meet with Jones today.

“I might want to say to them look, we have met on Saturdays before, let us meet a Saturday to pull all of this together because when trade unions are out of school, that is an impact on the schools,” Jones told journalists.

However, he left the door open for talks with the union to resolve the vexing issues.

“Over time, we have met with union officials to seek to resolves issues before they become contentious. If they become contentious, we still meet to resolve those issues and our doors remain open,” he said.

The minister disclosed that the incident at Ellerslie was still being investigated by the police and while he had received a report from the school’s principal Major Errol Brathwaite, he was yet to hear from the board of management.

The BUT has confirmed that it will meet with teachers at 9 a.m. on Friday at its Welches, St Michael headquarters to discuss Jones’ response to their request for a meeting.

3 Responses to Jones announces committee to probe violence in schools

  1. Sunshine Sunny Shine April 28, 2016 at 3:57 am

    I agree with the approach particularly the survey. However, the committee must not just look at the contributing factors for in the schools but must also extend their scope to investigating the problems emanating from the home environment as well. All the information collected will be pertinent to understanding the root base factors and how best those factors can be tackled. In addition, the committee should also conduct an assessment study of the teaching fraternity to determine levels of competency conflict resolution, teaching techniques, attitudes and best approaches. There should be a comprehensive examination of all aspects of this problem, including the ministry’s approach to dealing with the issues as well.

  2. BaJan boy April 28, 2016 at 5:10 am

    Stupseeeeee This is another opportunity to give their DLP friends some money. Like all of the others nothing will come out of this and Jones like all the others continues to enjoy the fatted calf with no respect for our people.

  3. harry turnover April 28, 2016 at 6:41 am

    Committee ??? to come to the SAME conclusion as it is now ??….Jones now putting the matter in somebody elses’ hand since the Ministry,Principals,Teachers and the Unions are leading him.
    After ALL this time the Ministry or the Board or whoever cannot expell that girl or dismiss the teacher and expell the boy who damaged that teachers’ car……what the committee could do ?

    Wha Jones want the committee to tell him that they got some wicked hard ears children in the schools who either come from single parent homes or homes where there are both parents and are generally well behaved AT HOME AS ALWAYS and that there are some wutless teachers who don’t give a hoot about the children they teach or the Principals or even the Ministry or Jones as long as they have the Unions backing them and that there are also some good teachers who genuinely care ? or about teachers who like to show off by abusing their power when adults are around.

    Most people already know about those in addition to those who like to show off in front of adults and parents when talking to the children when in some cases it is simply an abuse of power.


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