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Introduction Violence in our nations schools has become common place in recent times and the display of these

undesirable behaviours have affected and continue to affect to a great extent the education of our children and national development on a whole. In the June 3rd, 2001 edition of the Jamaica Observer, a local study revealed corporal punishment and violence in the community as the two main factors contributing to a high level of aggression in Jamaican primary school children. Dr. Julie Meeks-Gardener, in a separate study, pointed out that a significant factor contributing to the high levels of aggression is the frequent exposure to violence in the home and community (Farrell, 2001). Schools are perceived to be havens reserved for learning and for the moulding of young minds to be responsible citizens. They are largely thought to be immune from the crime and violence, which permeates a society. But incidents such as the Columbine High School killings in the United States have erased that myth as the pervasiveness of societal crime continues to penetrate schools. In Jamaica, there has been an increase in violent incidents in institutions of learning, especially among young men, which has caused much concern for the government and the society at large ( In a presentation given by Karen Cadien (2004), stated that boys are overwhelming perpetrators of violence in Jamaica. Because most children spend more time watching television than they do in other activities except sleep, the possible influence of television violence is a real concern (Timmer, Eccles & OBrien, 1988). Results of a recent longitudinal study: Does watching violent TV increase aggression in boys? indicate a clear yes to the question asked.

Rowell Huesmann and colleagues examined the relationship between exposure to violence on television from ages 6-10 and aggressive behaviour in adulthood 15 years later for over 300 people. The conclusion reached Childrens exposure to media violence predicts young adult aggressive behaviour for males (Huesmann, Moise-Titus, Podolski & Eron, 2003, p.201). The primary or the most obvious characteristics of aggressive behaviour are actions that are: Violent Abusive Threatening Destructive

Stakeholders such as parents, teachers and guidance counsellors rate these behaviours as number one among factors contributing to poor academic performance among boys. In the June 3rd 2001 edition of the Jamaica Observer, a local study revealed corporal punishment and violence in the community as the two main factors contributing to a high level of aggression in Jamaican primary school children especially boys. In the Jamaican In the Jamaica Teachers Association (J.T.A.) News report dated August 20, 2003, the Teachers union complained of a worsening pattern of violence in Jamaican schools, including attacks on teachers and the murder and rape of students. The report further stated that there were forty (40) cases where students have been attacked by other students or members of the schools community and seventeen (17) cases in which teachers were victims. Patrick Smith the J.T.A. secretary made recommendations

for school grounds to be fenced and manned by unarmed guards. Further recommendations by the J.T.A. include: 1. All institutions should have reception areas to which all visitors report-no direct access to classrooms. 2. Class sizes should be limited to no more than twenty (20) students per teacher. 3. Students who are assessed as being a threat to the safety of teachers and other students be removed from the institution and placed in special facilities with programmes for behaviour modification and rehabilitation. 4. All schools in the urban and semi-urban areas should be provided with 24-hr security services. In recent months, administrators in several schools have called out for help to curb violent behaviour among their students as the incidence of violence escalates. This evidence paints a picture of a growing problem in the educational system, that of violence in schools which is of great concern not only to the various stakeholders in education but the nation at large. For the purpose of this study we will be investigating to ascertain factors contributing to the existence and escalation of violence in a particular primary school in rural Jamaica. Reports from the school indicate that there has been an increase in violence and its severe nature at this particular school. The researchers are proposing to find solutions to this problem and to make effective recommendations.

Problem Statement There is a need for some form of intervention at a certain rural primary school where there has been an increase in violent acts among boys from grades 3-5.

Background to the Problem The school is located in rural Jamaica and it currently houses over one thousand students; five hundred and eighty-five (585) girls and four hundred and thirty (430) boys with age ranges from six to twelve years old and twenty-six teachers in classrooms which are often times overcrowded. The school currently has one guidance counsellor on staff. Most of the students on roll are from working class families and they live in relatively close proximity to each other. Many of the violent acts take place during recess or after dismissal and occasionally during contact hours. It was noted and observed that these violent act are among boys of grade 4, ages 9-10 years. The surrounding community consists of two informal settlements mainly agrarian in nature, the focus being sugar and fish farming. Evidence of the existing Problem Findings of report on violence in schools are available in a variety of forms and places, articles in the Jamaica Gleaner , Observer and other print media, Guidance Counsellors and schools incidents reports, the Ministry of Educations Security and Safety Policy Guidelines, Radio and Television programs that have ensuing discussions on violence in schools. The article

Violence Prevention Alliance Launches 2009 Peace Campaign in the February, 2009 issue of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) newsletter stated: The Violence Prevention Alliance today (February 5) launched its 2009 Peace for Prosperity campaign which will target young people especially students, in light of the growing incidence of violence in schools. Another article published in the Gleaner, Monday, June 22, 2009 entitled School Violence on the front burner stated that the Ministries of National Security and Education are working to develop a memorandum of understanding to address the problem of violence in the nations schools. The Minister of National Security, Senator Dwight Nelson commented on the extent of the problem of violence in schools: Who would have thought that a principal in a school would have to line up six boys and say to them I am going to search you for weapons and turn his back to pick up something and one of them takes out a knife and stabs him? Who would have thought that such atrocity could occur in a school? In the Ministry of Educations Security and Safety Policy Guidelines-Promoting A culture of Security and Safety in Schools, the Minister of Education Andrew Holness in his statement gave merit to the problem of violence in schools: Presently, various measures are being applied to address common security and safety challenges in schools. Among these are the presence of drugs and weapons, bullying, gang culture and the inappropriate use of information and communication technologies.(MOE Security & Safety Policy Guidelines, 2008) According to the Guidance Counsellors report from the institution: Between the months of September-December 2008 (Term 1(one), a total of ten (10) violent acts were committed by

students mainly boys in the age range of 8-10 years old, that is, Grades 3-5. Most of these acts were as follows: Burst Head Cuts to the face Blows to the eyes , stomach and other body parts Choking Stabs to the face and body Kicked, stepped on

The types of weapons/instruments used were as follows: Pencils Sharpener blades Stones Fist; feet Iron Knife Homemade weapons

In term two (2), from January to April 2009, there were a total of twelve (12) violent acts. These acts were categorized as follows: Cuts to face, arm and other body parts Stabs to the body Burst Head Injury to eyes, hands and fingers Blows (by kicking) to the groin area resulting in doctors visit and medication Fractured arm

The weapons/instrument used in this period were: Pencils Razors Stone Use of the fists and feet Pieces of boards and sticks

Research Questions 1. What are the contributing factors to the increase in violent acts among boys in Grade 4? 2. What are the effects of violent behaviours among boys in the particular grade/school? 3. What impact will a mentorship programme have on alleviating these violent acts? Significance of the Study The findings of the study should benefit the participants, classroom teachers, guidance counsellors, the school administrators as well as the wider community. The findings should also be helpful as a reference for future research in similar area and as a guide to be used with students who might be referred for similar problems. Teachers may be better equipped to address aggressive behaviours in children as a result of the findings.

Limitations The major limitations for researchers, is the time span allotted for this research; the time was too short. Another limitation for the research is the irregular attendance of the boys to school; this has posed a problem for them attending the sessions.

Definition of Terms Violent behaviour Violence Mentorship Programme physically harming others

Methodology The survey research design was chosen to do this study. A survey research generalizes from a sample to a population so that inferences can be made about a characteristic, attitude or behaviour of the population (Babbie, 1990 as cited in Creswell, 2002). Surveys mainly rely on an individuals self reports of their knowledge, attitudes or behaviours and as such the validity of the information is contingent with the honesty of the respondent. Surveys can be used for a wide variety of purposes in education, businesses and governmental agencies (Mertens, 2005). For example, a school may decide to do a survey of parents to determine what kinds of reading materials are available to students in their homes or the Ministry of education may conduct a survey to find out what percentage of the school population uses the public transport system (Beaumont, Evans & Johnson, 1997). The rationale for choosing this design lies in its advantages: The economy of the design-it is relatively inexpensive. Rapid turn around in data collection Useful in describing characteristics of a large population

Flexibility (Fowler, 1988). Survey research lends itself to probability sampling which gives an unbiased representation of the population of interest.

Measurements can be standardized because the same information is collected from every respondent.

Survey research has several modes of administration including personal face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, questionnaires, mail correspondents and the use of the web (Owens, 2002).

Participants of Study and selection techniques Teachers: these individuals Students Administrators such as principals Guidance counsellors Selection techniques: Random selection- ensures that each individual has an equal probability of being selected from the population ensuring that the sample is representative (Keppel, 1991). Convenience (Non-Random selection) may be necessary because of the need to use naturally formed groups eg. A classroom or an organisation (Creswell, 2002).

Ethical Considerations Confidentiality: one needs to respect the rights and privacy of the research populations and to preserve the integrity of institutions (Class notes, June 6, 2009). Informed consent- informed consent of participants might be needed with the signing of consent forms. To minimise/eliminate this risk: 1. Use of anonymous questionnaires where participants cannot be personally identified or harmed. 2. If consent is needed the participant (or parent/guardian of the participant if he/she is under age) must be told the nature of the study as well as about any potential risk or harm the study may cause and asked to sign a consent form. Vulnerable Population- one that is susceptible to harm, those who are relatively incapable of protecting their own interests; including children, mentally disabled among others. (Levine, 1986 as cited in hardy, 2006). To eliminate/minimise risk: 1. Get informed consent where needed.

2. Show respect for rights and privacy. 3. Protect them from harm (Hardy, 2006)

Implications of this study for National Development A study such as this would: Inform how to develop behaviour modification programmes, aimed at reducing antisocial and disruptive behaviours. describe the attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of a representative sample of Jamaican students attending primary schools identify the students' ideas of what constitutes "violence"'

References Beaumont, H; Evans, H.; Johnson, R. (1997). Introduction to Educational Research. The Joint Board of Teacher Education. Stephensons Litho Press Ltd. Creswell, J. (2002). Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods Approaches. 2nd Edition. Electronic version.

Gravetter, F.J. & Forzano, L.B. (2009). Research Methods for the Behavioural Sciences, International Edition 3E. Hardy, L. (2006). Vulnerable Populations. Power point presentation. Mertens, D. (2005). Research and Evaluation in Education and Psychology. 2nd Edition. SAGE Publications. Electronic version. Owens, L.K. (2002). Introduction to Survey Research Design. SRL Fall 2002 Seminar Series.

Pros and Cons of Survey Method Strengths:

Surveys are relatively inexpensive (especially self-administered surveys). Surveys are useful in describing the characteristics of a large population. No other method of observation can provide this general capability. They can be administered from remote locations using mail, email or telephone. Consequently, very large samples are feasible, making the results statistically significant even when analyzing multiple variables. Many questions can be asked about a given topic giving considerable flexibility to the analysis. There is flexibilty at the creation phase in deciding how the questions will be administered: as face-to-face interviews, by telephone, as group administered written or oral survey, or by electonic means. Standardized questions make measurement more precise by enforcing uniform definitions upon the participants. Standardization ensures that similar data can be collected from groups then interpreted comparatively (between-group study). Usually, high reliability is easy to obtain--by presenting all subjects with a standardized stimulus, observer subjectivity is greatly eliminated.


A methodology relying on standardization forces the researcher to develop questions general enough to be minimally appropriate for all respondents, possibly missing what is most appropriate to many respondents. Surveys are inflexible in that they require the initial study design (the tool and administration of the tool) to remain unchanged throughout the data collection. The researcher must ensure that a large number of the selected sample will reply. It may be hard for participants to recall information or to tell the truth about a controversial question.

As opposed to direct observation, survey research (excluding some interview approaches) can seldom deal with "context." fm. Advantages and Disadvantages of the Survey Method