The recent Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) study on prison inmates and links with some schools, which has caused discomfort among the schools identified, has served to open up more opportunities for these institutions to receive well needed assistance.
This is according to at least two of the principals of the high/junior high schools highlighted in the research paper as having been attended by a high percentage of convicted persons.
Principal of the Holy Trinity High School, Margaret Brissett-Bolt, informed that since the study was made public, she has been able to make headway with a company which has now promised to provide assistance to the school.
“We got a call from a company that we were trying to make an inroad in, but somehow we just (couldn’t) get in. Somehow the door just flew open (after the report) and they are willing to help,” she said.
Mrs. Brissett-Bolt was speaking to JIS News following a meeting with Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, at his National Heroes Circle offices in Kingston on January 27. The meeting was attended by principals and other staff members of the schools identified in the report, as well as a member of the JCF.
She further noted that the study has also enabled her to reconnect with the school’s alumni. “Out of it has come what I have been trying to do for some time and that is to galvanize my past students. There have been calls and visits and Facebook messages and come March we will be meeting with our alumni. So, that has been very positive for us,” Mrs. Brissett-Bolt said.
Principal of Kingston High School, Corrine Richards, also told JIS News that she has been getting calls from persons who have volunteered to help the school since the study came out.
Minister Thwaites tabled the study entitled: ‘Education and Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates in Jamaica’, in the House of Representatives on January 21.
At the time, he informed that 56 schools across the island will receive special attention, as of February, to find a school-based solution for crime and violence. The institutions include 18 non-traditional junior high/high schools which were identified by study.
The report identified the link between the behaviour patterns of children and their anti-social conduct, both of which, it was argued, could most often be predicted from school days.
The study also noted that many young persons, who ended up committing serious crimes, were frequently absent from school; exhibited cognitive or social abnormalities; were not assessed or treated adequately; and had little or no effective family/teacher support or certification.
Minister Thwaites said that the special intervention will seek to identify troubled, deviant and seriously disadvantaged students; assess and address their situations; and prevent dropouts, among other things.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards