Gordon Swaby

Jamaica’s High School And it’s “Problems”

bullying-739607gif.pngAs a High School student i somehow feel obligated to address such an issue. This seems to be an island wide problem with High Schools at this point in time; Andrew Holeness surely has his hands full, Maxine Henry Wilson must feel good to be relieved of the position or feel good to know she isn’t the one handling the problem.

If it’s not Indiscipline, Sex in schools or violence then it’s the matter of the lack of furniture or some other complicated matter that apparently has no solution, but what seems to be the biggest problem right now is the matter of violence towards teachers and weapons in schools. Education Minister Andrew Holness said yesterday, during a post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, that “students are too often merely given a slap on the wrist when they are found with offensive weapons seized by school authorities.”

He went on to say that he wants all such incidents reported to the police and the students charged under the Offensive Weapons Act.

Such a law did not or does not prevent Gun Men from carrying guns, so why do they think it’s going to stop a student from carrying an offensive weapon to school…when a student, male/female decides to put that knife, gun or whatever other offensive weapon into his/her pocket, they are aware of the consequences and they have made up there mind that whatever happens, happens.

I think the government is approaching the situation with pure aggression, instead of actually looking into the matter and hearing both sides of the story the just automatically switch into offensive mode., not all teachers are saints, we’re all human beings and we’re all flawed, but because they have title of teacher they get all the privileges.  There are cases where teachers hit students and the students react by hitting the teacher back. And if i heard right, “Hitting a student is a Big No No”.  I have to mention once again that threating the students with charges will not change anything, the ones who fight are usually the troubled ones, the ones without guidance or proper parenting. They don’t care what happens to them.

I also have a problem with the fact that the Gleaner was not hesitant in mentioning  Christiana High School in one of it’s recent articles because of an alleged confrontation of the Vice Principal by two female students at the institution. They happily named the school in the article, but the other schools were not mentioned, what the Gleaner is insinuating  is that CHS has no integrity to  uphold, but the other “Prominent” High Schools do?, bullshit if i say so myself, they should have said a school in Manchester and not blurt out the school’s name in the paper like that, if your not going to name one school don’t name the other, prominent or not, regardless of if the school was mentioned on television or not.

Written by Gordon Swaby

Gordon Swaby

Founder and CEO of social learning service EduFocal.com. I’m passionate about technology, the internet and the use of technology in education. I am a recipient of Governor General’s Youth Award, the PSOJ’s 50 Under 50 Award, The commonwealth Youth Award and many others.

Lovingly made on Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 at 1:11 am. Filed under Interesting, Jamaica/Politics, Uncategorized.

  • http://stunner101.blogspot.com Stunner

    I have seen the reports of violence towards teachers in the news and it is really disturbing. This increase is a bad trend and is an ominous sign of the future of Jamaica. I think just suspending these students is a slap on the wrist indeed, they should have harsher penalties such as expulsion. As you rightly said, from these children make up their mind to do a certain action they must be prepared to deal with the consequences. It’s true, not all teachers are model teachers, but attacking a teacher or calling ones family or outside friends to attack the teacher is a no-no and the attacker and instigator should be charged.

    As for the media, dat a idiot thing, if they are going to call names they should call the names of all the schools especially the prominent “town” schools!

  • Esteban Agosto Reid

    Yes, indeed, the media is definitely exhibiting a high level of hypocrisy and double standard, with respect to the public naming,outing, and disclosure of certain schools experiencing sundry forms of violence while protecting the so called prominent schools which are also experiencing significant levels of violence in terms of a nondisclosure policy.

  • http://mythoughtsonstuff.com Leon

    Things are really dire in the high schools. I think the schools should adopt a policy of random searches. That should help a bit. As for Christiana being named, I don’t think its so much a matter of integrity as it is influence. Past students, parents and all other interested parties belonging to the “prestigious” high schools have a great deal of power, and will wield that power if their school’s name is dragged in the mud.

  • yanique

    I do agree that Andrew Holeness is not taking the right step in solving this matter …………even though as you’ve mentioned disruptive students are aware of the consequences of their actions………nevertheless should be given a second chance…..we are all human, we are not pefect.
    It is not fair at all to blurt out the school’s name like that an keep the prominent schools under the cover.

    • leonia peters

      i think he is trying is best don't push him.

  • http://www.advance-gamers.com Gordon Swaby

    I guess he’s frustrated

  • http://longbench.wordpress.com Long Bench

    I noticed the “prominent high school” phrase immediately and had to stop myself from firing off a letter to the editor, which they wouldn’t print anyway. The double standard in the media — shaming some schools and the students who attend them, while protecting others from the disgrace of being labelled as teggeregs — has contributed to the way we perceive the violence in schools. I really don’t think that there is a dramatic increase in the number of whole families declaring war on teachers, etc. Rather, the change has been steady and observable. We just haven’t been paying the right amount of attention.

    Based on my reading of the news, what has changed is the frequency and the tone of the reportage; violence in schools adds a lovely flavor to the melodrama and overt sensationalism of crime coverage, thus ratcheting up the stress level and sense of victimization on the part of the teachers.

    The teachers themselves have also become more verbally abusive and antagonistic towards students, and disrespectful to the parents, both out of frustration as well as blatant disregard for people’s feelings. So, there’s ill will on both sides.

    But what is even more unconscionable is that the violence that has been going on in the schools for years, and which directly affects the students, has not prompted this kind of collective action on the part of the teachers until now. The JTA et al. have been all too content to malign the students and to use dubious terms like “lack of socialization” to attribute what is happening as the fault of the parents and family environment. I maintain that Jamaican teachers still don’t know how to relate to students beyond the doctrinaire and authoritarian approach of “I teach and you learn”. Challenging as the new school environment is, most teachers simply don’t have the education, skills or training to relate to children as children. Schools can’t be everything for children; family and school have to work together. I would love to find one, just one, example of a school that has taken on this concept wholesale and have tried to make it work.

  • http://profiles.takingitglobal.org/jaevion4u Jaevion

    Ok, why are we all so appalled when we hear stories of sex and violence at school .. I have completed high school long time and its nothing new to mean. Ever since 97 it was happening at my school.

    So let’s really remove ourselves from this static position we are in when we hear of these things and face the damn reality. Thats why first world countries will forever be progressive … they face the harsh realities of time and they just roll with it… instead we talk about the stupid ole days when a parent from up the road could beat your child and he/she dare not tell u in the evening if he/she hopes to be spared from a second round!

    How ridiculous! And let’s realise that we cant go back there … So time to move on into 2008.

    Our problems are a multiplicity of factors and none of it will ever be dealt with if we continue to hide the truth from ourselves, fail to listen to those affected, take this top notch approach to bandaid everything … and – i wont continue to list all we have been doing wrong …

    But seriously, school seems to be the hot topic for 2008 … textbooks removed a second time … condoms in school, school sex tapes, corporal punishment banned in schools at all levels, teachers and principals to get police training .. lol ..

    what’s next on the list of things to do for schools?

    hmmm .. let’s see .. how about:
    1) proper human resource strategies to motivate teachers (esp. the ones who just in the job to get a salary)
    2) remove suspension and expulsion
    3) remove teachers who continue year on year off to have even 50% passses
    4) change the old guidance counsellors – who are guiding us on the sole basis of morals
    5) allow all students take every subject at high school – its not the teachers decision to decide who is ready for cxc (at least thats our excuse) – stop protecting school image
    6) introduce alternative learning in schools – skills, dj, music mixing, graphic design, cosmo, etc
    7) compulsory after school hours for studying
    8) performing arts programme in all schools
    9) pump money into schools sports programmes

    Now thats something worthwhile doing.

  • kram

    To jaevion

    You seem to think that students should be free to do what they want in schools. Removing suspension and expulsion- what then is the alternative. Firing teachers that get 50% passes. What about the students that consistently get 50% and below.

    You seem to want to absolve students from any responsibilities.

    Why should a student that shows no or little interest in a subject, who attendance is very poor and whos grade is very poor be sent up for CXC. If I was a teacher I would not recommend any students who is clearly not ready for CXC.

    Suggest a viable alternative to moral guidance.

    What do you think about using your time wisely, so you don’t have to be forced to study. Isn’t studying for your own good. Why should one be forced to.

    Just my two cents.

  • http://www.jamaicayouthadvocacynetwork.org Jaevion

    It’d funny how we all think as human. I wont comment much as a way of avoiding a debacle. But let me say that we fail to realise how we continue to perpetuate a culture of hopeless right across the nation. And the blame at all times is the subordinate and never the superior. If a class fails its always because they were not interested and never because the teacher lacked classroom management, devoted some serious time to teaching, or was even interested in the students learning and development. I have seen it happen time and time again.

    And the funny thing is all of us that have reached in the echelons of society forget how careless, lazy and uninterested in things but because someone gave us a chance. Why do you think first world countries continue to thrive? they encourage a culture of success right across the board. they try as best as possible to reduce the numbers of kids who drop out of school and even when you do drop out you are not cast away like they would adulterers in the biblical days … come on let’s get serious.

    Many of us never took exams serious until it was time for external exams ….

  • Gavin Price

    I have no comment of the sex in schools. But on the revitalization of the education system. It works for prominent high schools who get better students or students who perform well on the day who rnt suitable for the institution. I went to a prominent male high school in kingston and it was my suggestion in a group discussion of the sixth form body that the school needs to integrate HEART programs into the school system along with CXC. At my alma mater students are streamed according to class by the time they end grade 9 so u have the science clases the busines the technical and the lacadasical class i call it where they do subjects just to say they did CXC one such subject is EDPM i feel its a waste of time i did CXC IT and looking on the course outline its completely useless i feel they should get the students assessed b HEART in there IT programs whether it be Data Operations, Web Designing, Office. Another is the wood work and metal work in complementing CXC get them accredited by HEART so if wen they finish high school if they don’t get into college they can move on int he HEART program or work and support them selves. Isnt that better than doing this structure change that Mr Holness proposed that student have to leave school at 18 and they have a next level of education three is enough build on the strong foundations. Students have changed the system need to mature to deal with the ever maturing world.


  • http://online-university-degree-info.blogspot.com/ Accredited Distance Learning

    That's a very useful article. I will be sure to send it around to my friends over at facebook and myspace.

    • http://gordonswaby.com Gordon Swaby


      • leonia peters

        he is trying is best and he is taking it step by step. don't try to push him on what he can't handle.

  • http://gordonswaby.com Gordon Swaby


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