Government is continuing its programmes to address the problem of violence occurring in some of this island’s schools.

This was made clear by Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, as he delivered the feature address at the opening of a two-day National Consultation on Violence under the theme "Violence in Our Society: From Prevention to Treatment. ????The consultation, one of the activities during Crime Awareness Month, was held yesterday at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.

The Attorney General disclosed that the National Task Force on Crime Prevention was currently working with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and several other government agencies to develop prevention programmes in the schools and communities across this country.

"During the month of December officers at the Task Force will conduct a crime prevention programme at the Barbados Youth Service. The objective of this intervention is to prepare the young recruits for the world of work as well as to encourage them to be responsible and productive citizens," he revealed.

In addition, Mr. Brathwaite noted that: "The 11-plus programme was launched five years ago to target those children transitioning to secondary schools with the vital information on drugs, crime, human sexuality and how to resist negative peer pressure. I envision that this programme will be expanded to allow every child entering secondary school to benefit from the information given," he pointed out.??

He also mentioned other programmes would be launched in the near future including the Youth Crime Watch of Barbados Project at the Garrison Secondary School.

"I am encouraging principals, teachers and parents to give your full support to these programmes. Schools must embrace prevention programmes that seek to strengthen the resiliency of children to resist drugs and negative peer pressure.

"There is no excuse for non-participation by schools or any other organisation in such activities. I am cognisant that there is a syllabus to complete. However, children cannot learn in an environment of fear and disruption.?? School is one of the most important places where characters are shaped and values are taught. Hence, schools have a major responsibility to ensure that values education is featured prominently in their curricula," Mr. Brathwaite said.

He noted that there were some instances where violent behaviour was being manifested in some schools in the form of bullying and aggressive behaviour towards teachers and other school staff. Mr. Brathwaite underscored that these acts were synonymous with what was happening in the wider society.??

"There are too many young people incarcerated at the Government Industrial School and Dodds for various offences committed during the most productive years of their lives when opportunities should be sought to engage in the further development of self and society," he observed.??

In order to rectify the problem, The Attorney General told the stakeholders that he had "at every opportunity" encouraged agencies under his portfolio to develop linkages with other government as well as non-governmental agencies to develop "holistic programmes" to address violence and to encourage conflict mediation as a response to the crisis.

Mr. Brathwaite said that the consultation would be beneficial since ideas would be solicited and solutions identified to the problems associated with violence in the society. It ends today.


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