Jamaica Launches ‘Just Medz It’ Campaign to End Violence in Schools

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaica government has launched an initiative aimed at ending violence in schools.

JUSTmezEducation and Youth Minister, Hon. Fayval Williams (third left), engages with students from Denham Town, Calabar, and Gaynstead High Schools. The event was the launch of the Ministry’s violence prevention initiative, ‘Just Medz It’, on Wednesday (October 19), at Wolmer’s Boys’ School in Kingston. (Photo by Adrian Walker via JIS)Dubbed ‘Just Medz It’, the yearlong campaign seeks to shift the culture of violent confrontations and responses among children and students and equip them with conflict-resolution strategies that are peaceful and healthy.

Education and Youth Minister, Fayval Williams, said the campaign is a national call to action for every single Jamaican and organization to support efforts to engender and sustain a culture of discipline and peace in the home, school, and community.

She said that the ministry intends to consolidate its human and financial resources, which will be brought to bear on the campaign.

“This includes the Safety and Security in Schools Unit, the Guidance Counselling Unit, the Health and Family Life Education program, the Character Education program, the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), and the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC),” she added.

“Just Medz It,” will employ a multifaceted approach to reduce the incidence of violence in schools by improving the physical infrastructure, teaching and incentivizing strategies to resolve conflicts peacefully, and providing psychosocial support to students and parents.

The authorities said it will also utilize the creative arts to maximize whole-school engagement and introduce character education programs to promote a culture of pro-social behavior among students.

Expansion of the uniformed groups in schools, clubs, and societies is a key intervention under the program.

Williams said that the initiative will involve multi-sector engagement including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, community-based and faith-based groups that are invited to partner with the Ministry on the initiative.

She said that violence in the society is being reflected in the learning institutions, she urged every citizen to play their part by becoming “promoters of peace”.

“We want a national call to action for educators, parents, students and the general public to take personal and collective responsibility to end violence in schools,” she said, reiterating the Ministry’s commitment to ensuring that learning institutions are safe environments for children.

Other strategies under the initiative include increased guidance counselling services at schools, development of services to facilitate research and promote public discourse, as well as policy initiatives to prevent violence in schools.

A public education campaign will be conducted for the duration of the campaign and benchmark indicators will be established to determine the efficacy of the initiative.