October 6, 2022

Schools can’t do it alone – [Jamaican/Cayman]

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Bishop GregoryReverend urges parents, society to take part in socialising, educating children

By Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter, The Gleaner

A call is being made for parents and the wider society to recognise that schools alone cannot fully socialise and educate the nation’s children.

The Right Reverend Dr Howard Gregory, Anglican Bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, said that several of the societal ills facing the country, including the high murder rate and failing schools, are largely due to the breakdown in the family.

“There is clearly a serious failure of socialisation taking place among our children,” said Gregory.

“Part of the challenge facing our schools today (is) resulting from the failure of an increasing number of our parents and homes to provide their children with the positive acknowledgement and blessing that they need,” the clergyman opined.


He said there is a boundary to what schools can do to facilitate the development of the nation’s young minds, and these institutions should not be the only agents of socialisation in the country.

“There are, I believe, clearly limits to what the school can do if the home is not fulfilling its responsibilities,” Gregory added.

He said serious questions must now be asked about the extent to which homes and families are equipping children with a sense of self and engaging in positive relationships.

Gregory said, as a result, it is now time for schools to look beyond just educating children and start engaging parents and guardians in a more meaningful manner.

threatening staff with violence

He stated that very often parents only become involved with schools when they are being called in to deal with their children’s indiscipline, and these parents sometimes show up threatening violence against staff.

As a result, he added: “Today, if the school is to be successful in its primary task of education, it must broaden its reach to include parenting education,” he added.

Gregory made the appeal during The Queen’s School and The Queen’s Preparatory 60th anniversary thanksgiving service yesterday at the St Andrew Parish Church.

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Related story:

Bunting Keeps Faith – Minister Says Church Must Be Involved In Curbing Crime

By Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer From The GleanerPeter-Bunting-lead-story

Shrugging off last year’s avalanche of criticism of his call for divine intervention in dealing with crime, National Security Minister Peter Bunting has sounded a rallying cry for churches across the island to make themselves a centrepiece in efforts to bring an end to violence in 2014.

Bunting yesterday conceded that he was apprehensive about making the call after being pilloried by sections of the public last April in the aftermath of his “innocuous” divine intervention comment while speaking at Northern Caribbean University in Manchester.

At the time, the minister said he was convinced that “the best efforts of the security forces by itself will not solve the crime problem in Jamaica, but it is going to take divine intervention, touching the hearts of a wide cross section of the society”.

For those comments, he was accused by many of surrendering to crime and demoralising members of the police force as they continued their efforts to get a grip on the crime problem.

In addition, former national security minister, Derrick Smith, called for Bunting to ask Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to relieve him of his post.

But yesterday, Bunting said key stakeholders in a section of his ministry’s Unite for Change effort would be faith-based institutions.

“Let me be bold enough to suggest that the issues around violence prevention are not peripheral to the Church’s mission, but at the core,” Bunting asserted as he addressed the second anniversary service of the Transformed Life Church at the Old Hope Road-based Police Officers’ Club.

Bunting, who has been under severe pressure as a result of a soaring murder rate and other concerns related to crime in 2013, lamented that his portfolio was deemed to be the graveyard of political careers as Jamaica has been experiencing high violent crime rates for decades.

He suggested that instead of blaming successive national security ministers for the perennial problem, there was need for a paradigm shift similar to the national security apparatus of the United States in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

He stressed that the key plank in Unite for Change is the rekindling of hope among Jamaicans to convince law-abiding citizens that they are not helpless.

“That is what ‘Unite for Change’ is about,” declared Bunting. “… citizens coming together to make their respective communities safer.”

He said the initiative aims to identify what each stakeholder in the fight against crime – including the Church, public health, business, non-governmental organisations, and neighbourhood watch volunteers – needs to do.

Said Bunting: “Issues of peace, sanctity of life, reconciliation, love, and respect are central themes of Christianity – all great religions – and these are precisely the values that we need to infuse in our society to reduce the anger, hostility, and violence.”

Bunting reiterated that if every church in Jamaica was prepared to hold itself accountable to reduce violence in just one community across the island, such initiatives would yield an “amazing level of peace and prosperity”.

Calling for church leaders to be ‘street pastors’ who seek to help marginalised persons in communities, Bunting declared: “In the final analysis, citizen action must make the difference in crime prevention.”

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