The Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation will launch a comprehensive anti-violence campaign early next month to address the issue of violence in schools.
Themed: Peace Begins with Me, the campaign is supported by the UNICEF office for the Eastern Caribbean Area, and will target parents, students, teachers and the community in general, with the understanding that everyone has a role to play in addressing school violence.
The Ministry designated its first Peace Ambassador, Princess Margaret Secondary School student, Ayra Newton, on Tuesday, March 27, under the Schools’ Positive Behaviour Management Programme (SPBMP).
The peace campaign will feature consultations with students from secondary schools at the Savannah Hotel, Christ Church, to find out what problems students are facing and how these could be tackled. The Ministry will also recognise more Peace Ambassadors, and students will be part of a public education campaign, where they will share their views on how to walk away from, or deal with violent situations.
One of the campaign’s highlights will be a Pledge Day for Peace, which will be held on Friday, May 11. Students from all schools will be expected to make a peace pledge against violence. A ‘peace space’ will also be created at secondary schools for students, which will serve as a sanctuary where they can reflect or cool off, if faced with contentious situations.
Early Childhood Educators will also be included in the campaign, and they will participate in workshops addressing child protection issues among young children at the Savannah Hotel, on May 29 and May 30. Additionally, teachers and principals across the board will receive training in Crisis Management throughout the year.
Senior Education Officer with responsibility for SPBMP, Janice Reid, said violence in schools did not affect any particular age group.
“The Anti-Violence Campaign will include all nursery, primary and secondary schools. As the agency responsible for the welfare of students, it is the mantra of the Ministry to create peaceful schools, where all students, teachers and parents feel safe to learn, teach and visit,” she emphasised.