The ministry holds meetings on the issue of school violence

GLENYS Hanna Martin speaking at the School Board 2022 installation ceremony recently.

EDUCATION Minister Glenys Hanna Martin said her department plans to meet with several stakeholders this week to discuss concerns about school violence and how the government plans to respond to it.

This comes after a student at LW Young Junior High School was reportedly injured and had to be taken to hospital following a recent argument with another student from another school.

There was also another incident at the school involving a student who had to be restrained by administrative officials after losing her temper for unknown reasons.

In an interview with The Tribune last week, education director Marcellus Taylor said the situation led LW Young’s principal to step in to help defuse the situation.

But, according to him, the student in a fit of rage formed a fist and “swung” LW Young’s principal, “grazing” the administrator’s forehead in the process.

The Bahamas Educators and Managers Union, Steven McPhee, has denied allegations that the principal was attacked.

However, when asked to clarify what exactly happened at the school, Ms Hanna-Martin only said that some of the reports surrounding the incident were exaggerated.

Still, she noted that any act of violence on campus was a major concern. She said her department was actively trying to resolve the issue.

‘There was an incident at LW Young,’ she said before heading to a Cabinet meeting yesterday.

“The principal has a view there of what happened. Its union representative, Mr. McPhee, who is the president, spoke about it. I heard other people who weren’t there talking about it and so we have to be careful because there were so many exaggerated stories that came out of it, including stabbings and all that kind of stuff, that did not occur.

“So certainly the department would have received a report and would respond appropriately, but from what I understood from those who were there, the reports are completely exaggerated. However, we know that we have problems on the campus, on various campuses, and so it’s an ongoing concern. I think it has a lot to do with young people who have gone through isolation and the experience of the pandemic and so we’re trying to address those issues.

“We know there are issues, but we have to be careful not to fuel national narratives that aren’t accurate and feed fear that would take us in a different direction. We want to be a fact-based, rational, who understands what is going on, who is honest and who goes forward.

Ms Hanna-Martin also said officials believed many students were acting aggressively due to school disruptions caused by COVID-19.

“We didn’t get any data,” she added. “We see certain things and we speculate what those things mean, but from what we see internationally, there is scientific or imperial data indicating that children are affected emotionally.

“We don’t think Bahamians would be any different because they’ve been denied and isolated for very long periods of time in terms of socialization. So this week we’re actually going to meet with technical stakeholders to look at the situation to try to understand exactly what could have happened here and what our responses will be and we need to get some data because the Department of Education now has bring a major push to data so that we are able to make imperial decisions and policies based on scientific facts on the ground.

Police officers were fired at nine different public schools in New Providence in March after concerns were reignited over school safety following a stabbing at AF Adderley.

Among them were CH Reeves Junior High, Government High School, RM Bailey Senior High, CC Sweeting Senior High, AF Adderley Junior High, CV Bethel Senior High School and Doris Johnson Senior High.

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