The Ministry of Education has announced that it is considering a protection package for educators.
The Ministry of Education in Jamaica has revealed that it is looking into the implementation of a violence insurance package that would be designed to assist teachers who have been attacked and injured by their pupils while they are working.
The Education Minister first made this announcement during a press conference in Kingston.
Ronnie Thwaites, the Minister of Education, spoke on behalf of the Office of the Prime Minister in Jamaica’s capital city, explaining why the violence insurance coverage was being considered for teachers. He stated that “The teacher in that situation would have the normal recourse against his or her employer if there was any negligence or want of care.”
He went on to say that this makes the consideration of violence insurance a worthwhile pursuit.
Thwaites explained that “There will be a cost connected with it but in my view in the same way we provide some measure of insurance for our students, we should also extend to the teachers.” At the moment, teachers who suffer an attack from their students and who are injured must take their complaints to the Attorney General, from whom they must seek their compensation.
The Attorney General then decides whether or not that teacher will receive compensation for the injury. However, teachers are saying that making these claims, without violence insurance, can take years to process. It can take an extreme amount of time and effort for a ruling to be made in order to obtain compensation from the government that is adequate to cover the injury. This has led many teachers to simply suffer their injuries without bothering to make the claims at all.
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Teachers have found themselves frustrated and surrounded by red tape. At the moment, there is no true recourse offered by the system. One example that is currently being used by supporters of the violence insurance package to support the decision, occurred to a construction teacher named Garfield Dennis, from BB Coke High School in Junction St. Elizabeth.
Over three years ago, a student stabbed Dennis in the back when he was reprimanded for unruly behavior. The teacher’s lungs nearly collapsed and he suffered from internal bleeding. He was required to remain hospitalized for a week and missed over 40 days of work. However, despite numerous letters to the Ministry of Education, Dennis was never compensated for his injuries.
This and a number of similar situations have prompted the violence insurance to be considered in order to provide educators with a means of obtaining compensation when students attack them while they are on the job.