Two representatives from a collaborative safety and prevention effort — Andrea Phillip, Chief Education Officer in the Ministry of Education; and Kallon Simon, Director of the Child Protection Authority — publicly assured of the importance of safety in schools, in the wake of an unfortunate report of child abuse at one of Grenada’s schools.
Mrs Phillip said, “I want to make it abundantly clear that the greatest priority of the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development is the safety of our children. If our children are not safe, and schools are not secure, then learning cannot take place.”
A key component to the Ministry of Education’s reaction to incidents of sexual abuse in schools is the invocation of Clause 132 of the Education Act, 2002. The Clause, which refers to misconduct of persons in the employ of government, was amended in 2012 and serves as an emergency measure for active and immediate action to preclude any further disadvantage or risk to the child or children involved. The formulation of a National Child Abuse Protocol has already been carried out by the Child Protection Authority (CPA). The safety and prevention effort also includes the Royal Grenada Police Force and the Ministry of Social Development.
Director of the CPA, Kallon Simon said that a series of educational sessions would soon be embarked upon with the teaching fraternity. “In the next couple of months we will be rolling out this Child Abuse Protocol within the Ministry of Education and making sure that the front line staff understands their role and responsibility in identifying, minimizing and managing risk. They are not to investigate and they are not to intervene. The first point of contact is to report to the CPA, according to Section 27 of the Child Protection Act.”
Support for affected individuals, such as the students, teachers and parents, is available through a combined effort from the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development and the Child Protection Authority.