Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says preliminary data indicate that there was a downward trend in school violence during the first four months of this year.
“This has been the case for the past three years,” the Minister said on April 28, while responding to questions tabled in the Senate by Opposition Senator, Wensworth Skeffery, which focused on the Ministry’s response to violent attacks against students.
Senator Reid said as it relates to out of school violence, the police would be better able to provide the information.
“The available figures indicate that between January 2017 and April 2017, there were seven such attacks,” he noted.
The Minister said the Ministry has been tracking the data for schools over the past five years, and offences, which include fights, robberies, murder, theft, wounding and other incidents, have declined.
He said in 2012, a total of 915 fights were reported, 23 robberies, four murders, 160 thefts, 52 woundings, and 135 other incidents. In 2013, a total of 786 fights were reported, 1 robbery, four murders, 64 thefts, 25 woundings, and 28 other incidents.
For 2014, zero fight was reported, four robberies, one murder, three thefts, three woundings, and 13 other incidents. In 2015, 165 fights were reported, 8 robberies, one murder, 30 thefts, 32 woundings, and two other incidents.
For 2016, 16 fights were reported, 14 robberies, zero murder, 45 thefts, 16 woundings, and two other incidents.
Meanwhile, the Minister noted that the staff complement in the Ministry’s Safety and Security Unit has increased from one to four. He added that safety and security is one of the policy priorities of the administration.
“The Safety and Security Unit traditionally had one officer in the person of Assistant Superintendent Coleridge Minto, who has been seconded from the Jamaica Constabulary Force for the past three years,” he said.
The Minister noted that the budgetary allocation for the Unit for this fiscal year is $70 million.
Senator Reid informed that over 1,000 school personnel have been trained in school safety and security.
He pointed out that matters of violence/critical incidents that take place within the schools are dealt with pursuant to the policy guidelines as directed in the Critical Incident Management Policy.
The Minister said the cases must be logged and the critical incident report sent from the schools to Central Ministry through the various Regions. He added that these reports are thereafter treated with at the Safety and Security Unit.
“Matters that occur outside the schools are often reported directly to the police for their attention and later to the school for the appropriate actions. Incidents at the tertiary level are usually reported and the Ministry provides support. The tertiary institutions however have internal processes to treat with issues at that level,” he said.
Article by: Chris Patterson
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm