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Zero tolerance plan to tackle school violence

EDUCATION Minister Glenys Hanna Martin.

EDUCATION Minister Glenys Hanna Martin.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

EDUCATION Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin has warned there will be “zero tolerance” for school violence when campuses reopen in September.

The minister went on to note that school safety and attendance will be a key focus for her ministry in the upcoming fall semester.

Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday, Mrs Hanna Martin said her ministry is now reviewing proposals on the placement of CCTV equipment in public schools.

She also announced plans to have more officers trained to help promote safety on school campuses.

Mrs Hanna Martin said the importance of partnerships between school administrators and related officers was one of many items discussed at a recent meeting she had with officials during the National Association of School Resource Officers conference.

She added: “Plans are underway following that meeting for the training and certification of additional officers, about thirty of them, who will be certified specifically trained for school campuses and for young populations and for the design of safety curriculums that SROs will deliver during the course of the summer.”

“So, they will not just have a physical presence, but they will be specifically trained for school campuses and interactions with young people but they will also deliver a curriculum dealing with bullying and other matters of that nature to ensure a holistic engagement by those officers on the campus.

“Additionally, the school safety plan which designates protocols to promote safety and effective responses is under review for update. The ministry is also reviewing proposals for CCTV in schools and that is underway.

 “Madam Speaker, there will be a zero tolerance for school violence and appropriate interventions will be made to ensure our children are permitted to learn in safe environments and I call on parents and the wider community to work with us in ensuring this objective is achieved for the sake of our children.”

 Concerns about school safety were reignited earlier this year following several stabbings and violent encounters between students at public schools.

 In an effort to better protect students, police officers were stationed at nine different public schools throughout New Providence in March.

 Mrs Hanna Martin said for the upcoming school year, officials also plan to focus heavily on school attendance given the high number of school dropouts due to the pandemic.

 She also said officials will test students for learning loss in early October so they will have a better understanding of COVID’s true impact on education in The Bahamas.

 “Beginning September there will be a full focus on school attendance,” The Englerston MP added.

 “This will be manifested by the recruitment of approximately two dozen attendance officers for New Providence and ten for Grand Bahama. These officers will be mobile and specially trained to liaise with all relevant agencies to give the necessary support and that includes social services and to assure that children will be in school during school hours.

 “Truancy will not be accepted for children whom our law has mandated should be in school.”

 Pertaining to teacher shortages, Mrs Hanna-Martin said a teacher recruitment exercise remains underway to address the issue.

 “A teacher recruitment exercise is underway as we seek to confront the challenge of global teacher shortages and recurring attrition and seek to ensure teachers are recruited for historically scarce subjects and specialised areas.”

 “The ministry is in discussion with a particular university, and I will speak more to it later for a postgraduate programme in special education and guidance counselling to proactively address critical shortages, particularly in special education. We don’t talk about it, but this is really a crisis in this country and they have perhaps suffered more than any student in this country.

 “So, this dialogue with the country is underway to ensure that we are able to build capacity with teachers to deliver an outreach in education for special needs children and to provide guidance counselling for the general population.”

Comments

tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

Talk about totally useless and completely incompetent political talking heads. She's another one right up there at the top of my list.

Short fatso Davis really short-changed most of the children in our country when he appointed her minister of education.

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bahamianson 2 months, 1 week ago

Tell that to the unruly parents. If they discipline them, it would be easier for the teachers. They come to the schools to fight along side their kids.

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tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

Don't forget many of the parents of these kids were also educated in these same schools under a public education system that, like our successive corrupt and incompetent PLP and FNM governments, has steadily gotten progressively worse over the years.

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sheeprunner12 2 months, 1 week ago

And most of the teachers came from the same public schools too. And the administrators. So, what schools did Glenys, her PS and the Director went to???

So who should we find to run the system? Private school graduates, foreigners?? Is that the problem????

What do you suggest to fix that???

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tribanon 2 months, 1 week ago

I believe Hanna-Martin went to QC at a time when most of its teachers were foreigners. Her more fundamental problems though are not related to a lack of educational opportunities in her childhood years.

We can be as 'anti-foreigner' as we want to be, but we must accept that persons who have not been well educated and/or do not have what it takes 'upstairs' are simply not cut out to be teachers of our children, especially in a classroom setting.

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zemilou 2 months, 1 week ago

If the country -- and especially the government -- abandoned the practice and mandate of forcing people to retire at age 65, we might have more educators available. Many of us over the official retirement age are physically healthier than many younger people. More important, those of us who elect to continue past retirement age not only have accumulated wisdom to pass on to both our younger peers and students, but remain in the classroom because we are passionate about helping people to learn -- not because it's simply a job.

Shouldn't age discrimination be protected by our Constitution and laws -- in the same way as gender, race, creed, etc. Don't we have a fundamental right to be old?

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