Caricom Implements Measures To Create Safe School Environments
Basseterre, St. Kitts, September 04, 2015 (SKNIS): Eighty-five participants from the Cayon High School (CHS), including teachers, administrators, guidance counselors and students, recently gathered on its campus for a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) training workshop from September 1-3.
The objective of the programme is to build the capacity of teachers and students to develop, effectively implement, monitor and evaluate CPTED strategies and interventions to address youth on youth violence in schools over the next six months.
Beverly Reynolds, Caribbean Community (CARICOM) facilitator, explained the most important aspect of the programme.
“The highlight of the programme is the Champions for Change Club,” she said, noting that the idea is to have the students themselves advocate against violence and promote safety and security in the schools. In addition to promoting safety among students, some teachers have argued for an increase in physical security around the school, such as pedestrian gates and other types of physical security products. “What we really look at is how we can manipulate the current and present physical layout and environment of the school and how we can also work in the classroom to reduce violence.”
Lisa Pistana, Education Officer, stressed that the programme is very important for the education system, as it “teaches teachers how to respond to certain violent activities or possible explosive issues that may arise within the classroom and how to handle students in a way so as to diffuse the incident as opposed to making it worse.”
Cayon High School was well chosen to pilot the programme given its relationship with the population of the surrounding areas.
“When we looked at schools in general, we felt that CHS is a community-based school,” said Lisa Pistana. “Most of the students come from within the surrounding communities and it will be beneficial. There are some issues they would have faced like any other high school students and we felt that they were ready for a programme like this.”
Shauntel Jones, teacher at CHS, shared the knowledge gained from the training sessions.
“We learned about some areas in the school where students would hang out and create problems,” said Jones. We also learned that in order to get students to keep away from these areas we have to implement certain plans, such as proper supervision and extra security guards.’
Dennis McCall Jr., another teacher, had similar views.
“We talked about deescalating situations within the classroom,” stressed Dennis. “I found this to be very important for all teachers to learn about because in the classrooms we are faced with many different challenges and there are a lot of students with different personalities clashing.”
Both teachers said that they will try to incorporate what was done in the learning and management process with their students.
CPTED is an initiative to reduce youth on youth violence in CARICOM member-states. The project which is supported by the Kingdom of Spain is currently being piloted specifically in five countries: St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and St. Lucia.
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