GLEANER: Education Minister Ruel Reid has urged school administrators to exercise patience when dealing with unruly students, but he has also encouraged the teachers to be prepared to defend themselves.
Reid's comments come in the wake of several altercations between students and teachers recently, in which members of staff were reportedly abused by the youngsters.
"The right of self-defence always exist," Reid told a Gleaner Editors' Forum last Thursday, as he urged the teachers to exercise as much emotional intelligence as possible when dealing with aggressive and problematic students.
"We have always had to remind principals and teachers about the part of the Bible that says don't provoke your children to wrath," said Reid.
"You know the youngster is troubled and he is angry for whatever reason. There is a way to calm him down. How you speak to the child," added Reid.
CUMBERLAND HIGH PROTEST
Classes were disrupted for days at the Cumberland High School in St Catherine last week as teachers protested the heightened indiscipline of some students at the school.
It followed a confrontation between a student and the school's principal two Fridays ago.
Teachers at Camperdown High School also staged a protest after one of their colleagues was reportedly physically assaulted by two male students who were trying to retrieve a cell phone that was seized by the teacher.
Reid told Gleaner editors and reporters that while he is in support of the use of technology in schools, the education ministry has taken a general ban on cellular phones in schools, and students should understand and obey the guidelines set out by their school regarding cellular phone usage.
"If you take away the phone and the student grabs the phone away from you, what should you do?" questioned Reid.
"Let them take the phone, but they shouldn't remain in the school, to be frank. As a principal, I could never run a school where I confiscate the phone and the student grabs back the phone from me.
"You are going to grab away the phone but you are going to find another school," said Reid.
CAPTION: The scene at the east Kingston-based Camperdown High School during a protest by teachers just over one week ago