Education Ministry re-issues guidelines on school violence to principals

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Education Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly

The Ministry of Education has reissued measures to deal with violence to schools across the country in light of an increase of incidents at schools in recent weeks.

A statement from the ministry on Wednesday said the Chief Education Officer issued the guidelines as outlined in the Education Act 39.01 and the National School Code of Conduct of the ministry to principals.

The guidelines summarise the current measures to deal with violent behaviour in schools.

The statement follows an incident caught on video on Monday and circulating on social media in which a girl in a red-and-white school uniform was seen holding a knife and another girl, in the same uniform, was seen holding her face, apparently bleeding and wounded in an attack. The incident took place near Poonwassie Gardens, Williamsville.

“According to the communique, students who commit serious offences while in uniform, whether on or off the school compound, face the maximum penalty of expulsion from the school,” said the statement. “This applies to students engaged in fights that result in serious injury to others, or the wielding of dangerous weapons.”

It said principals were also reminded that all such incidents are to be reported immediately to the nearest police station and the executive of the ministry. The police have reportedly said they will lay appropriate charges in all such circumstances.”

The statement said these measures are especially necessary in dealing with continued indiscipline in schools, most recently in Williamsville.

“The principal’s report on this incident was received (on Tuesday) and a decision on the disciplinary action to be meted out will be taken and communicated to the school and parents by the end of the day.”

It said the matter is also under active police investigation and help from the Student Support Services Division has been offered to the students involved.

It pointed out: “In a recent press conference, the Ministry of Education noted the need for a revised approach to dealing with school violence that allowed for both punitive and supportive measures. However, even as this revision is being addressed, the provisions of the current National Code of Conduct stand and will be strictly adhered to.”