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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeCommentaryOp-edOp-Ed: VI Board of Education Is Committed to Safe School Campuses

Op-Ed: VI Board of Education Is Committed to Safe School Campuses

Virgin Islands Board of Education

The Virgin Islands Board of Education (VIBE) recognizes the territory’s public schools have experienced disrupted instruction caused by irresponsible acts of school violence, including bullying and cyberbullying that has been widely shared on social media. The members of the board stand in support of the Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE), the families, teachers and students who demand safer and healthier school campuses territory-wide.

Kyza Callwood, Ph.D., chairman of the 20th Board of Education, says “these repeated incidents of school violence are disrupting school operations, causing further loss of instruction, creating safety concerns on our campuses, and too often continue beyond the immediate school campuses. Our students, faculty and staff are entitled to safe environments that promote innovation, creativity, and learning. The Board of Education is committed to taking all measures needed to support positive learning environments and safer school campuses.”

Specifically, the board’s Policies, Rules and Regulations Committee is in the process of updating the existing school discipline policy as part of a comprehensive overhaul of VIBE policies. This update aligns the policy with best practices that focus on prevention, restorative practices, consequences, behavior modification and an increased emphasis on social-emotional learning.

The board will soon vote to release the updated school discipline policy for public input and feedback.

The board is also calling on the Department to aggressively implement social-emotional learning strategies that are designed to help students to problem solve, manage and process their emotions. Dr. Callwood also encourages greater community engagement with the territory’s public schools in ways that can help to increase levels of safety, develop greater self-esteem as well as conflict resolution skills in our students, and address issues that contribute to incidents of violence on our campuses.

Board Officers

Kyza A. Callwood, Ph.D. — Chairman

Winona A. Hendricks — Vice-Chairperson

Shawna K. Richards — Secretary

St. Croix Members

Winona A. Hendricks

Terrence T. Joseph

Emmanuella M. Perez-Cassius

Shawna K. Richards

St. Thomas/St. John Members

Kyza A. Callwood Ph.D.

Judy M. Gomez Esq.

Nandi Sekou Esq.

Jeanette Smith-Barry

Angel L. Bolques Jr.

At Large Member

Stephanie J. Berry Ph.D. — Executive Director

St. Croix Office, 1115 Strand Street, Suite 201-B, Christiansted, VI 00820

Telephone No.: 772-4144l; Fax No.: 772-2895

St. Thomas Office, P.O Box 11900, Dronningens Gade, Nos. 60B, 61 and 62, St. Thomas, VI 00801

Telephone No.: 774-4546; Fax. No.: 774-3384

Website: www.myviboe.com

VIBE is calling on parents, guardians, grandparents and family members to revive and join school PTAs and to establish better communication with their children to recognize and address potential areas of concern that can lead to physical altercations.

“There is no room for finger-pointing when it comes to addressing school violence,” Callwood stated. “Our common goal must be to reduce school violence and continuously improve school environments so that students can safely learn and reach their highest potential.”

The board takes this opportunity to thank students, VIDE teachers, administrators, school counselors, school monitors, school resource officers and all staff who work hard every day to promote positive school environments where students and staff can feel safe mentally and physically during these challenging times.

Your efforts have not gone unnoticed.

The Virgin Islands Board of Education.

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