The Management and staff of St Leonard’s Boys School have developed an initiative to curb the current level of violence happening in secondary schools as they launched the Schools Against Violence Everywhere campaign at the Richmond Gap, St Michael headquarters yesterday.
The campaign, which started in February, arose out of the stabbing incident which occurred at St Leonard’s on February 14 where four students were involved in an altercation that left two students nursing injuries.
Senior Teacher Winston Cumberbatch noted that although the campaign was launched because of that violent act, students have been signing up to pledge that they will not be engaging in any forms of violence.
“ In February, we would have had an experience which caused me to bring a group of boys together to discuss and to get their feedback. The students said in order for violence to end, students themselves needed to be inspired to make a change,” he said, adding that since the launch in February, 50 students had signed up. To date, more than 180 students have taken the pledge not engage in any forms of violence.
In his brief address, President of the Parents Teacher Association Anthony Murrell told students that they must carefully select friends.
“One of the things that comes a lot with violence in schools is poor choices. I am going to say to you that if you have a friend that can’t tell you to come back or to stop, you do not have a good friend. And if you can’t tell your friend to stop or come back, you are not a good friend. If your friends are only going to encourage you to do foolishness, then you have foolish friends. You need to choose your friends wisely,” Murrell said.
He noted that parents want their children to come to school in a safe environment where they do not have to worry about acts of violence to them.
“ The best place for our children is a place that is safe, wholesome and [where] the focus is on the academics and everything else; to have our children come to a school and not have to worry about fighting and everything else that is negative. We worry as parents and we want to know that our children are in the best conditions that they can be in,” he said.
Aja, Founder of the Peace Ambassadors Project which was started in 2005, told the students to be mindful that they are creating history by deciding to pledge not to engage in violence.
“You are the youth who are saying to us adults that we are going to take this action on our hands and create peace not only at St Leonard’s Boys School but peace at every secondary school across Barbados. You are empowering yourselves,” he told the audience.
The students were urged by Senior Teacher, Winston Cumberbatch, to be Students Against Violence Everywhere and to use ‘their fist to greet and not to beat’, as he instructed them to pledge that they would not engage in any forms of violence.
Cumberbatch, along with senior students, instructed the student body to repeat the initiation pledge that they would not engage in any forms of violence as of May 3 2018.
“I hereby pledge to use conflict resolution to settle our differences instead of resorting to violence. I will not use my body or any device to cause harm to others,” the students pledged.
Following the initiation, students walked around the school’s compound with placards while shouting that they were against violence in schools. (LG)