Government is fully committed to putting an end to violence in schools across the island.
With that in mind, the Ministry of Education in conjunction with UNICEF this morning launched a new anti-violence campaign at the Princess Margaret Secondary School, home to Peace Ambassador Ayra Newton.
During the event, which was held under the theme ‘Peace Begins With Me’, students were offered many words of advice, before reciting the national peace pledge.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw explained that the campaign came in response to worrying incidents of bullying and violence in Barbadian schools.
“I think parents, students and teachers have been asking for the society to address a number of these problems. The Ministry of Education and UNICEF would have launched this campaign to signal how serious we are about trying to combat the problems that our young people are facing.
“We are basically asking people to talk out things, as a opposed to reacting and being violent,” she said.
Entertainers Peter Ram, Mole, Faith and Philip 7 collaborated to produce a jingle for the campaign which they performed, much to the delight of the students.
It advocates for peace over violence.
“We have engaged the artistes from Barbados who I feel very strongly have a role to play in spreading messages to our young people in particular. They reacted positively [to] the message and we were able to bring it over in a way that they understood,” Bradshaw added.
She also disclosed that her ministry would be working with counsellors “to ensure that it is not just about the optics today but . . . that our teachers are equipped to deal with violence in the schools and also taking some preventative measures to stop violence from happening”.
The minister further revealed that Government intends to have peace ambassadors in almost every school across the island.
“Peace ambassadors will emerge from time to time, but we are starting across the school because I think it is a positive step and a step in the right direction to be able to engage the students in recognizing young people for positive.
“There is no much negative circulating on social media and it is talked about but as a go through the schools I realize that we are some good teachers and students. I think we have the responsibility to highlight them more than we were doing and to find forums to allow young people to be able to speak out about how they would like to see their school and society environment change.”
In her brief remarks, Chief Education Officer Karen Best also revealed that a behavioural policy was on the cards for primary and secondary schools in order to stop violent acts from happening. (AGB)