Categorized | National News

School Suspension Programme Touts Successes

Ten months into its operation the Student Refocus Support Programme sponsored by the North Eastern Pastors’ Alliance (NEPA), is touting a success rate of 80 per cent in its bid to transform the lives of at risk, troubled youth who have been suspended from school and need help.

Via a video presentation at a brunch NEPA hosted Thursday morning, four female students in the programme admitted that they were suspended from their junior and senior high schools and for bullying, being accomplices in handling illegal substances and using obscene language.

But they are just four of the 500-plus students enrolled in the programme, who have turned out to be success stories for the organisation.

NEPA President Pastor Dale Moss said the organisation partners with officials in education, Social Services, Urban Renewal and the church to “save” students who are out of school and on suspension from becoming idle and realising the error of their ways.

“They have various infractions like substance abuse and a great deal of our kids are involved in violence and gang activities and disrupting the classrooms,” he added. A number of them are involved in not functioning in the classroom due to some reason or another like family issues at home. But generally it’s violence they are being suspended for.”

Pastor Moss added that while on the surface it seems as if some students are just blatantly rude, when the layers are peeled back the root causes are better identified and it is proven that many children have to cope with, molestation, abuse, divorce and even murder in their homes.

“Sometimes a child goes into the classroom and we expect for them to function as normal, but how can they when their family members was just murdered the night before or the week before and their father is in prison,” he asked. “Some of that behaviour is just about them being bitter and angry.”

Because these organisers recognise this, Deputy Director of Education Ross Smith called on teachers and school administrative staff to be more careful in whom they toss out of school and write off as failures.

“Children should not be subjected to frivolous suspensions when the root problem is economics or the root problem is hardship,” Mr. Smith said. “We must look deeper into these students’ behaviours and not be quick to penalise and write them off when we know they have issues.

“We should be a part of the solution and not the problem.”

Nearly 20 churches and non-profit organisations use their buildings as centres for the Student Refocus Support Programme but they said more volunteers, money and equipment are needed.

They plan to expand the suspension support programme to the Family Islands in the future.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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