Categorized | National News

Education Minister Address School Violence

Tensions flared between members of the press and the Minister of Education on Wednesday as the media was blasted for irresponsibly producing reports of violence in public schools after a number of videos posted to social media went viral.

Before abruptly ending the press conference, Mr. Fitzgerald maintained that despite what is being circulated on social websites, since the reintroduction of police officers to the public school system there has been a substantial reduction in school violence.

In fact he said that the incidents are so low, the matter of violence has not been an issue for over a year.

“I’d like to encourage the media to seek answers to some of the concerns that were raised directly from the principals and the administrators when these incidents arise and not go on hearsay, this way you can avoid any unnecessary discord and prevent the exaggeration of minor occurrences and issues which do happen from time to time,” he said.

“To this end I want to extend an open invitation to the media to visit any of our school campuses as you wish and conduct interviews with principals and teachers at the schools in order that we can create a positive relationship between the media and our officials. So instead of sensationalising minor issues I’d like to draw your attention to more noteworthy and positive matters and things that have been happening in our public schools.”

Mr. Fitzgerald said he was extremely surprise to hear of the media reports regarding a stabbing at C.R. Walker High and the buzz over a video which showed a classroom full of R.M. Bailey students insulting a teacher; he said that video was recorded years ago.

“In 2011 a video circulated via social media that was strongly condemned by the ministry at that time, the behaviour of those students was not condoned and swift action was taken at that time, the teacher who was seen in the video is no longer under the employ of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.”

“The alleged report regarding a stabbing incident at C. R. Walker is completely untrue and false.”

He further explained that there was a minor altercation at C.R. Walker and the matter was immediately addressed by school officials.

Mr. Fitzgerald also addressed those concerns regarding a number of students attending school with electronic monitoring devices.

“Let me clarify this matter, if a minor between the ages of 15 and 16 commits and offence off campus, goes before the court and ordered to wear an ankle bracelet and come back to school, by law we cannot deny that student access because he/she has not committed any incident on the school campus and the court has given an order in that regard,” he said.

Meantime, R. M. Bailey’s Principal Collin Johnson expressed his dissatisfaction with that local media company which unearth a matter that was resolved years ago.

“It is an unfortunate situation that incident would have occurred and even so more unfortunate that some three years later it is here again,” Mr. Johnson said.

“Last night when I heard that, I could not sleep well, I couldn’t wait until Wednesday morning to come so I could address it. I had promised the school that I will make it a school of choice and it has quickly become a school of choice, a very discipline school, it disturbed me when I heard about that incident, it could not have happened under my watch.”

C. R. Walker’s Principal T. Nicola Mckay shared similar sentiments and blasted the media.

“I was very disturbed when I heard about the report this morning and I have been really annoyed with journalists who tend to always focus on the negatives when it comes to our government schools,” Ms. Mckay said.

“I hate to hear the name of C.R. Walker being tarnished by what I call irresponsible journalism because there was nobody who called me to find out if an incident took place on C.R. Walker campus.”

Overall, Mr. Fitzgerald said that he has a zero tolerance to violence and assured that the Ministry of Education will continue to promote a safe environment on school campuses.

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook