JAMAICA | Ensure Adequate Social and Psychological Support for School Children Says PNP

JAMAICA |  Ensure Adequate Social and Psychological Support for School Children Says PNP

KINGSTON, Jamaica, March 23, 2022 -  Opposition Spokesperson on Education and Training, Dr. Angela Brown Burke is expressing concern about the high level of violence in our schools which has escalated since the reopening of face to face school.

In recent weeks, Jamaicans have been bombarded with videos of students involved in fights and violent activities in schools. As a result, many parents are now beginning to question whether or not their children are safe at school. “Yet another violent incident in our schools has resulted in the death of young Khamal Hall.  The Opposition extends condolence to his family, friends and other members of the school fraternity who are mourning his loss”, said Dr. Brown Burke.

The Opposition Spokesperson noted that while a lot of the focus has been placed on the learning loss suffered by our children as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the social and emotional loss suffered must also be taken into consideration. Dr. Brown Burke is therefore calling on the Government to ensure that schools have access to an adequate number of counselors, psychologists, nurses, social workers  and other resources to ensure that the support needed by our children is available to them. 

Dr. Brown Burke expressed that reintegrating students into normal school activities is posing a challenge to teachers and school staff. “Teachers have been telling us that it is taking a very long time to settle children back into learning because of the behaviors that they have been displaying”, said Dr. Brown Burke. She explained that it is important to establish a formal and coordinated programme to deal with these behavioral issues which she says may become a hindrance to learning. 

Dr. Brown Burke expressed that, “The current level of violence in schools is not a local issue but a pervasive systemic issue, which may have been exacerbated by the impact of  the Covid-19 pandemic”. The Opposition is calling on the Government to act swiftly to address these issues. “What is therefore required of the Government is an analysis of the emerging data and a formulation of a response that is culturally appropriate to cauterize the violence”, said Dr. Brown Burke.  She also noted that an urgent response is needed, considering the level of family and community violence in our society.

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