Only one month into the new school year and already we have several cases of violent assaults
among students at school. Two cases at two separate schools resulted in a 14-year-old and a
13-year-old being hospitalized. Worse, the incidents erupted from students stepping on their
school mate’s shoes.
These horrific physical attacks, often from petty arguments, have upset many Jamaicans and
demand some reflection on the state of the society and the way young people are being raised.
Violence in schools has always been a serious problem, and its causes are many. Poverty, peer
pressure, access to weapons, or being a victim of abuse at home all play a role in the acts of
violence we are seeing today. When among their peers, children will do just about anything to not
come across as weak. That mentality pushes them to do stupid things to preserve their street
One possible remedy is for schools to teach conflict resolution skills. This could help children
and teenagers control their emotions, and avoid violence as the first go-to response to
provocation. Those with good conflict resolution abilities can also help to resolve the conflicts of
others by encouraging cooperation. With such a small step, students can have a positive impact
on those around them and can become gentler and kinder role models in school.
Of course, valuable life skills like conflict resolution are best learned at home from parents and
guardians. But schools, church and other civic institutions can also contribute to children’s
growth and development in this area. Even agencies can introduce social programmes and
initiatives that benefit students.
Considering what we have seen this semester, it may be time to consider relaunching the “Just
Medz It” campaign that was first introduced in October 2022. It offered useful advice and
communicated the message with a vibe that could reach students. At this point, anything that
will put a damper on violence in schools will be welcome.