President of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Schools (BAPPSS) Stephen Jackman says while there is a place for dialogue about school violence and deviant behaviour, the time now is for action to deal with the scourge.
He insisted that measures agreed to in previous talks with stakeholders must now be executed.
“We have discussed since the 1980s, a type of residential system for those serious offenders where they can be taken out of the environments that reinforce their behaviour and reconditioned, reprogrammed to what society expects.
“Until we get there, taking them out for two weeks and sending them to Edna Nicholls Centre [out-of-school suspension programme] and sending them back into the same home environment every evening and then sending them back into the school environment with others who are going to reinforce them, we will still see that type of behaviour happening,” Jackman told Barbados TODAY on Friday.
On Thursday, President of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) Rudy Lovell expressed concern about deviance in schools and called for an urgent meeting with Prime Minister Mia Mottley and education stakeholders to discuss the recent incidents of violence among students.
However, Jackman said talks were held with Prime Minister Mia Mottley a few years ago and measures must now be implemented.
“We have been doing this dialogue back and forth since 2019. The last time we did it …. we met with the Prime Minister, the stakeholders, in a 12-hour dialogue in January 2019. What we need is for the things that we discussed at these meetings and these dialogues to be put into action,” insisted the principal of the Frederick Smith Secondary School.
He said that due to “bureaucracy and how government works” as measures take time to be implemented problems persist and new issues arise.
A measure suggested in 2019, which the BAPPSS head noted has been implemented, was replacing the 28-year-old Barbados Youth Service programme with the Barbados YouthADVANCE Corps programme which is designed to expose participants to discipline, citizenship and civic education, self-esteem building, etiquette, and a range of personal development courses.
Jackson said the introduction of a school counsellor and safety officer programme was another suggestion put on the table.
Both a counsellor and safety officer have been placed at the secondary school he heads, following a stabbing incident involving two 15-year-old students outside the premises last week. (AH)