Officials tight lipped over JGHS gang fight

| 11/03/2015 | 20 Comments
Cayman News Service

Lyneth Monteith, Acting Chief Education Officer

(CNS): The new acting chief education officer and former principal of John Gray High School has confirmed that the fight at the school Monday, for which two teenage boys were arrested, was a continuation of another brawl that had happened in Camana Bay at the weekend. But Lyneth Monteith has said little else about what was understood to be a major incident and the ministry has made no comment at all about what sources tell CNS was a gang-related fight.

Monteith confirmed that the fight “between two groups of male students” was fuelled by “another incident which took place at Camana Bay on the weekend.” She said the school had taken the appropriate measures to defuse the situation with the police and the school’s resource officer and the matter was being dealt with according to the discipline policy and the National Code of Conduct.

However, there has been no comment from Education Minister Tara Rivers, Ministry Counsellor Winston Connolly or Acting Chief Officer Christen Suckoo about the gang-related fight, which has caused genuine concern among parents whose children attend JGHS.

In the wake of a damning report about behaviour in government schools, worrying comments in exit interviews by teachers, reports of major discipline problems in classrooms and regular violent clashes in the local high schools among students, the minister said she has made the management of behaviour an important part of her education policy.

Cayman News Service

Ministry Counsellor Winston Connolly (left) and Education Minister Tara Rivers

Just over eleven months ago, speaking in the Legislative Assembly, Rivers said the government took the matter of “school safety very seriously”. She said she the ministry would be “proactive in addressing the challenges faced by government schools”.

In the speech in which Rivers had spoken about the “indicators of being at-risk of negative outcomes and manage a wraparound student-centred approach that relies on inter agency partnerships and collaboration in order to be effective,” the minister had pointed to new procedures for discipline.

She said staff had been and were being trained to manage student behaviour more effectively.

“Significant work is well underway to define key expectations and strengthen the way in which school discipline and student behaviour is managed going forward,” she said almost one year ago. Rivers had promised an anti-bullying policy and a campaign on expectations about school discipline and student behaviour.

Minister Rivers had also committed to lobbying for the necessary secure accommodation for seriously troubled students.

“These young people pose a risk to both their school environments and their community, and they require intensive and specific interventions to address their needs. Unfortunately, there is a gap in suitable secure therapeutic accommodation for these young people. We really must act with some urgency to address this matter. I will continue to lobby this government, of which I am a part, to move quickly to develop a proper mental health facility suitable to address the mental health and wellness needs of a growing population of students. Schools alone are not equipped to deal with such cases,” she said in the LA speech last April.

A code of conduct relating to students behaviour and expectations was introduced at the start of this academic year and an ongoing base-line inspection of schools is underway headed by Mary Bowerman, the former chief inspector of schools, alongside a wider review about the governance of the education system in Cayman and the possibility of switching to privatization or an academy style, grant maintained model similar to that adopted in the UK, which has seen very mixed results.

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Category: Crime, Education, Local News, Police

Comments (20)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Tara and Winston have proven themselves to be complete failures as politicians. They along with Roy Joey and Ozzie are the definition of one term parliamentarians. Roll on 2017

  2. Anonymous says:

    Heard her on the radio this morning, more fluff and air nothign meaningful.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Why wouldn’t parents want their older children to do a day of schooling and then off to a job where they would make money and also get credits? They would gain responsibility, have something to do in the afternoon that is productive, make money and gain credits. Work-study programs have proven successful in alot of communities.

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you want to extend the hours of the high school why wouldn’t you have the students go to school until a certain hour and then head off to work for the rest of the day and get credits that way? That way they are getting credits, money and work experience. They would have to be at an approved job site and bring back a pay slip to be credited- monitored bi-monthly or something like that.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I do hope the ministry realizes that these comments and this story on here are not just limited to cayman but are available for view globally?? If they did understand that, I would imagine that any answer immediately would have quickly simmered this eminent scrutiny that is about to occur. They are blinded by one upmanship in their department. A battle of egos and a fight for camera time.

  6. Anonymous says:

    tara rivers….queen of management speak waffle…..

  7. Tiwtin says:

    I just want to here that Rivers person say something! What on earth are we paying her for? Free trips around the world?

  8. Anonymous says:

    There always seems to be 2 types of kids. The one who is afraid of their parents showing up at school or the on who is afraid of having to miss lunch, gym, and stay after school. If the discipline policy is consistant- it does not take too long for the kids to “get it” even the hard core kid. You would not believe how many kids really dislike missing lunch with their friends- sometimes a lunch detention is an absolute solution to misbehavior even at the upper levels.
    As an administrator, you just have to make sure the policies are in place and that you follow them consistently.
    If the parents won’t show up then their child sits in the “in-house” suspension room until they do and or whatever the policy the school has. Are there attendance officers at this school and if so, they make a home visit.

  9. Lo -Cal says:

    For many years now I have floated the idea of maximizing the use of the school by separating the trouble kids from those who are really trying to learn. We should adopt a system where groups attend school in shifts so the ones who want to learn don’t get held back by those who are there just to fill time.

    One group could do 7 – 2 the other 2 – 6. what do you think?

    • Anonymous says:

      Have school from 7-7 for high school and they shift around school with intensive military style regime instead of this nonsense. Make all middle/junior -high public schools taught by ex military – mandatory and cameras on campus everywhere.

      The extended school day will keep them busy and out of the community. Parents have less to worry about in terms of child care and where the children actually are on the island. The children will get adequate exercise as the new system will require daily push-ups/running etc. Mandatory community service for all high school children – visit the pines/hospital/clean up the garbage on the roads/beaches.

      Some of these gangs just want to belong to something. Make them belong by creating that community which the military has successfully done in every country the world over. The nonsense of style and independence goes out the window. Uniforms and hair style requirements were meant to ensure the child pays attention to school work and not looks. Parents if you don’t like it, them take your children to private school. Otherwise, welcome to the new reformed way of teaching. Maybe if this really gets implemented there will be a new wave of students actually ready for the workforce. Ready to work on time. Looks presentable. Dedicated and motivated to follow what a supervisor is telling them to do even if it’s boring. Work is work. School prepares for the workforce. This daycare system isn’t working. Politicians listen and wake up. A new wave of criminals will come through if you don’t fix the problems.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This is terrible situation and I am not sure what can be done to address it. They can assign a guard in every classroom and increase security on grounds but not sure if that will fix the problem.

    There is no fear in these children. There was a time when teachers were allowed to use the belt; as cruel as it was but it taught us respect and discipline.

    I would like to know where are the parents?

    • Anonymous says:

      The parents of the children today are children themselves. Lost in a wonderland with no future, and are allowed to clutter up the infrastructure with criminals. Disturbed individuals should be removed from the classrooms and placed In an secured environment away from students, who are learners. They are only a distraction within the school and spread fear among students.
      When the strap was removed from schools, the devil possessed the unruly students and parents stop enforicing discipline and manners at home.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Perfect. A “gang war” at the school! Now, take the group of students involved, the principals, the dean, the police and get those students all in a room at the school for a mediation session immediately. Let them sit there until they discuss their issues. THEN…everyone of those students is immediately placed on probabtion at the school for one “term” or “semester”. (not sure how your school works down there). Probation at school will mean that they must arrive on time and be tracked in each and every subject. Yes, it is a pain, but it must be done. If they mess up (and some of them probably will) a consistant and mandatory measure must be in place whether that is Saturday detentions, after school detention, parental visits, IN house suspension etc., but under no measure let it be expulsion because at this point, that is probably what some of them want. A parent having to go class to class with a student or even having to come into school is sometimes the best punishment. Just my 2 cents and I worked in this field for 2 decades.

  12. Anonymous says:

    CNS you really expect these two puppetts to say anything. The voters truly wasted their votes on these suposedly educated duo!! what a joke

  13. Sim G says:

    Tara Rivers is a joke look at the Department Of Labour a complete waste of time and government resources. So why would you expect any different result with education. She is such a disappointment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tara and Winston may know nothing about education but you cannot blame them for individual instances. We can blame them for ordering yet another report on JGHS, knowing about its problems and refusing to accept the report until it looked less bad.

      • Anonymous says:

        We can blame them because if it was important enough to them, then they would have shifted resources to fix the problem. Even if govt doesn’t have the financial resources, then give the school publicity asking for public funding for sponsors/advertisers on campus. Sponsor a building, a faculty/dept/ a team or house. Encourage community involvement. Integrate the school into the community and make them care.

        Btw whatever happened to the spelling bee? The inter school competitions? Not just the sports ones, the educational competitions. Where has the drive gone for the students to want to do better?

        Why isn’t there a weekly tv show which publicizes these competitions? Science fair/ math fair/ arts month/ inter school sports teams/ inter school debate teams/chess/woodwork/gardening or best/biggest fruit/veg / singing competitions/ acting/everything that the children can compete with another school create a month or time of year they prepare to compete. This would lead the children to prepare all year round.

        Some of the so-called ‘bad children’ may surprise you because they have hidden talents that they can showcase. Just do NOT have it where everyone wins a prize. That would defeat the whole purpose of having the children strive for a prize.

        Tara and Winston – here’s a suggestion. Why don’t you guys have an annual award for children who are involved in the community. This could be awarded annually within whatever timeline. The requirements could be that the organized charity signs the log stating what they did and for how many hours. If not with an organized charity the child has to get approval of the community work. Eg cleaning the beach, visiting a shut in that’s not with meals on wheels or any registered charity. Something to that effect.

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