The Conundrum of Violence in Primary Schools: Mediation and Restorative Justice
AbstractViolence in schools is an increasing phenomenon at the primary school level in Trinidad and Tobago. This study identified the issue of violence at primary schools and intervention strategies that may be adopted to minimize the problem. A mixed method approach was employed to glean the challenges students and teachers face, as well as possible solutions via mediation and restorative justice to mitigate the conundrum. The sample comprised 6 teachers and 63 primary school students between the ages 10 to 12 years, from 6 primary schools. Data were collected through questionnaires. Anonymity and confidentiality were strictly adhered to, and analysis of data was conducted using descriptive statistics. The study revealed that 74.6 percent of the students were victims of physical violence. Some experienced psychological violence by small groups and cliques, through threats and fearfulness, while others were emotionally traumatized with feelings of unworthiness and helplessness. However, there were a few students who indicated that they were not victims of violence but witnessed incidents of violence. The study concluded that violence is prevalent in primary schools. It is expected that interventions such as the adoption of mediation and principles of restorative justice can minimize the occurrences.
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