PALS making difference at John’s Hall All Age
IN a continuing thrust to ensure that the Peace and Love in Schools (PALS) programme is effective at the John’s Hall All-Age School in St James, a Programme Implementing Committee was recently launched at the institution.
The rural school has for the past five years been a part of the PALS programme, a six-year-old initiative aimed at encouraging a healthy approach to conflict resolution among children.
The main objective of the implementing committee is to undertake a needs assessment study of the problems in the school and the wider community.
The study will then be submitted to PALS and a plan of action, based on the committee’s recommendations, will follow.
Roslyn McKella chairs the committee and secretary is Antoinette Dolphy. Walter Hawthorn, a teacher at the school, will be responsible for public relations and Mazie Beckford is the treasurer.
The committee’s launch, which was attended by a wide cross section of students, teachers and community members, was also attended by PALS Training Consultant, Pearnel Bell.
According to Bell, the inclusion of the PALS programme in John’s Hall All-Age’s curriculum has contributed to the school’s success in settling conflict among students.
“John’s Hall School has been doing very well, they have dedicated one hour per week to the programme and our findings have proven that the students are well aware (of how to use dispute resolution). No wonder some people are saying that the school is not violent, when compared to other schools,” said the training consultant.
According to principal, Mina Thompson said the main contributor to conflict at the school has been the serious problem of overcrowding. The school was built to accommodate 200 students but now has 556 on roll.
But she acknowledged the impact the PALS programme has had over the years.
“We have to keep on reminding them that there is another way to resolve their conflicts instead of hitting each other.”