Images of violence in local schools have flooded social media in recent weeks prompting a quick response from the education ministry. However, many are of the view that social media has only brought new attention to an issue that has always existed.

It comes on the heels of the People’s National Party calling for the urgent appointment of a Minister of Education, Youth and Information and the implementation of a programme that aims to slow incidents of violence in schools.

UNICEF is now finalizing an evaluation in support of the school-wide positive behaviour intervention and supports a framework pilot to get students to define, aspire to and live by a set of positive values and behaviour. On the other hand, the Education Ministry has indicated that it will be utilizing counseling, among other interventions, to address social challenges affecting the education sector. Minister Karl Samuda says the ministry is working to ensure that the school environment remains a safe place. However, the president of the People’s National Party Women’s Movement Jennifer Edwards is concerned by his statement.

According to her, there is compelling evidence supporting the call for the appointment of a minister who will treat matters affecting schools with what she calls seriousness. Earlier this month, the Jamaica Teacher’s Association raised concerns about an apparent delay on the part of the education ministry to act against instances of violence. Now, it awaits the government’s plan of action following.