Managing Behavioural and Psychosocial Issues in the Classroom

On July 16, 2015, the Juvenile Court Project (JCP) team had an opportunity to raise awareness about the impending Children Court and Peer Resolution at a workshop entitled, “Managing Behavioural and Psychosocial Issues in the Classroom”. The workshop was facilitated by the University of the Southern Caribbean (USC) on behalf of the Ministry of Education. Attendees included secondary school deans, teachers and education administrators. While the JCP presentation covered the main elements of the project, emphasis was also placed on the myriad neurobiological and psychosocial factors that impact on a child’s likelihood of offending and reoffending. These factors also support the adoption of rehabilitative and restorative principles in the new juvenile court system being implemented under the project.

The feedback from the audience was wide ranging. Several persons were interested in the role the project would play in preventing offensive behavior by children. While the Juvenile Court is one of the last stops in the path that a child offender may find himself, the Court will be instrumental in reducing reoffending behavior and thus, re-entry of the child within the juvenile justice system. This is owing to several new features of the system such as new orders that the Court can make, the introduction of risk assessments for children before the Court as well as the availability of auxiliary programmes which address the underlying needs of these children.

Persons were also curious about the role of teachers in the new children court system. They learnt that teachers may be called upon to share the school history of a child who is accused of committing an offence. They could also become adult volunteers in the pilot court-annexed Peer Resolution. At the close of the presentation, many expressed interest in becoming involved in Peer Resolution. Persons saw it as both an educational tool and deterrent to delinquent behavior among children.

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