WITH videos of students engaged in acts of violence on full display on social media, the Presbyterian Church says it is troubled by the alarming situation.
It is calling for several measures to be implemented to channel the energies into more positive ventures.
Earlier this month, a student of Tranquillity Secondary School was captured brandishing a cutlass on the compound. It is at this same school last November, the principal was assaulted and dragged, as she tried to quell a fight among female students.
Criminals are also wreaking havoc on the peacefulness of the schools’ atmosphere, infiltrating the compound and causing trauma.
Shooting incidents were reported on Wednesday and Thursday, outside Belmont Secondary and Providence Girls’ Catholic Schools located at Belmont Circular. Operations at both schools were affected.
In a statement on Friday, the Presbyterian Church (PCTT) expressed grave concern and apprehension at the growing levels of school violence and indiscipline in many of the nation’s schools.
The church said it is aware all schools, “including our Presbyterian Primary and Secondary schools are not immune to the types of behaviour that can create an environment of fear, insecurity, danger, and harm to our students.”
The church said such behaviours could lead to a decline in the levels of academic excellence and achievement.
“The PCTT commends to the national community the need for greater collaboration among all stakeholders in eradicating unwanted behaviour among our students.
“Educators including principals and teachers, parents, health personnel and other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education, Denominational Boards of Education, Ministry of Health and Ministry of National Security must all develop and agree on strategies to rid our schools of the scourge.
“As a church, we are striving to guarantee that our school chaplains and other church workers are present in our schools, working in collaboration with our administrators and teachers.”
The church has mandated its Boards of Education to ensure assemblies and religious education programmes foster a tone of peace, love, and harmony in their schools.
“The worship must reflect our religious beliefs as it relates to the character and preservation of same. We encourage the singing of meaningful hymns and our national songs.”
It is advocating for the reintroduction of groups such as Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Guides, TGIT, Brownies, Explorers, other extracurricular and sporting activities.
“We must recognize that the mental health and psychosocial well-being of our students are at risk coming out of a pandemic, poor parenting, poverty and debilitating socio-economic problems.
“Greater care and support must be provided to those at-risk students in all facets of their lives.”
The PCTT has committed to developing programmes for administrators and teachers, such as its anti-bullying programme from the Board of Christian Education and the Values Education Programme as initiated by Reverend Elvis Elahie.
The PCTT said it will continue to give prominence to ministering to the holistic needs of people, in encouraging safe and nurturing environments, as well as creating a culture of care, compassion, and concern, based on the principles of fairness and justice.
“The PCTT prays that the will of God is done and that our beloved country can work together to allow everyone to feel safe, cared for, loved and understood in our nation.
“We pray for all our leaders who govern our beloved nation and its citizenry for a better TT.”