School violence and sustainable development: change from within

Weekly, the Jamaican populace is besieged by headlines of violent acts between family members, against women and children, gang violence and other organised criminal activities, and more. These acts are perpetuated in various settings and by individuals from all different strata of society. Whilst the regularity of the incidents has perhaps contributed to a numbing of the population to these acts, there is no question that it has very real effects on individual and societal levels.

Violence, traditionally considered both a criminal justice and human rights issue, is increasingly being recognised as a developmental issue as it has a range of impacts which can hamper both social and economic development.

In the Caribbean, a number of countries are plagued by high levels of violent crime and other forms of social violence. For vulnerable countries such as these, the socio-economic impacts are significant, including loss of economic investments, reduced competitiveness of industries due to heightened security costs, loss of human capital through migration, and diversion of scarce resources from critical sectors in order to address crime and violence.

The issue of violence against and among children, in particular, is recognised as a serious problem regionally. Schools, typically thought to be a haven for children, are increasingly becoming sites of violence for students. The result is that antisocial and violent behaviour in schools is an increasing source of concern. The United Nations has recognised both the impacts and costs of violence against children — death, disability, physical and mental health problems, impaired academic performance, developmental and behavioural problems (such as absenteeism), the disruption or discontinuation of education, lost productivity, and criminal justice costs if these children themselves are or become perpetrators of criminal and violent acts. Read more

Source: Observer