Anti Gang Initiative Expands To Middle Schools

December 17, 2014

The Ministry of National Security advised that the Gang Resistance Educational And Training [GREAT] programme has expanded into the Middle School level and recently the Premier and Minister of National Security, Michael Dunkley attended the Whitney Institute to take part in a GREAT lesson programme firsthand.

Premier Michael Dunkley and Sen. Jeffrey Baron participating in the Whitney Institute GREAT lesson programme which is being taught by one of the GREAT Trainers, PC Simon Joseph.

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A spokesperson said, “The public will recall that the GREAT Elementary School pilot programme was re-introduced this past January. The programme is designed for P-5 and P-6 students and consists of six 30 to 45-minute lessons. The goal of the programme is to help students practice developing positive solutions and appropriate decision making when faced with tough decisions.

“So far about 150 Middle School students have participated in the initiative.”

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Premier Dunkley — who attended the Whitney lesson entitled ‘Keeping Your Cool: Managing Your Anger’ with Junior Minister for National Security Sen. Jeff Baron said — “Our Middle School students are at such a critical age in their growth and development, and the timeliness of the GREAT initiative couldn’t be more significant for these young people.

“Against the backdrop of recent incidences involving gun and gang violence, this school programme and its value is something that this Government wholeheartedly supports and endorses.

“At the Middle School level, the GREAT programme continues our efforts of introducing effective strategies to impress upon our young people that there are better alternatives to gang violence and anti-social behaviour.”

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The Premier added, “At its core, GREAT is designed to do two things; build positive relationships between students and the Bermuda Police Service, and it also provides our children with solutions and appropriate decision making skills.

“At Whitney, it really was a pleasure to observe the students as they role played, participated in group discussions and learned how to communicate messages clearly, control their anger and to respect others.

“For our part, we are pleased to do whatever we can to prepare our young people by providing them with the tools to make positive lifestyle choices and to make valuable contributions to this community.”

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To date, the pilot programme has been rolled out in the following primary and middle schools:

  • Gilbert Institute
  • Harrington Sound Primary
  • Paget Primary
  • Prospect Primary
  • Somerset Primary
  • Victor Scott Primary
  • West End Primary
  • Whitney Institute
  • T.N. Tatem

Over 200 hundred primary and 150 middle school students have participated in the GREAT programme during the 2014 calendar year.

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Comments (14)

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  1. flikel says:

    Why aren’t the Private Schools on board with this program?

    I think such programs further marginalize students in the public school system. The implication is gang members emerge from the public schools, hence only the public school students need this special program.

    Private school students are not at risk, do not need this and immune to the pressure of joining gangs.

    • Kunta says:

      Most Private school students dont have de social,economic, and parental hardships as public school students.
      But that does not exclude Private school students from getting in trouble, they’er usually swept under de carpet or ship out de island.

      • flikel says:

        You are correct, ‘bad’ private school students do not make the headlines….only ‘bad’ public school students.

        To single out public schools for this program sends the message that public schools are a breeding ground for gangs. Public schools is where the problem is.

        Private school school students do not join gangs, hence if you want to keep your child safe and away from gangs….don’t send them to public school.

  2. wwatcher says:

    A GREAT program….excuse the pun. The officers from the CAT office east, west and central really are a credit to the service.

  3. Serious Though says:

    Dellwood

    Coming soon?

  4. mj says:

    another programme,………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  5. ImJustSayin says:

    We can reduce the menace of gangs in our society by participating in various anti gang programs such as: Organizing sports for youths Organizing drama and activities that offers alternatives to gangs.Provide gang and drug prevent guides and training for youths.  The youths youth to know about gang related problems, death statistics resulting from gang fight and gang crimes and what the future have for gang members (negative gains of being a gang member)The government have a lot to play in stopping gang problems in our society.  The government should provide support services that will help to counsel gang members who are willing to denounce their gang membership and also offer protection for such persons.The government should setup a community policing patrol system or a neighborhood police watch program that will inform people of graffiti, gang members and territories. This will in not small measure help to stop the spread of gangs in our society.Parents have a big role in the fight against  gang in our society.  Parents should try and educate and open communication with their children to stop them from joining violent gangs or hanging around with gangsters.

  6. Whatdoesthefoxsay? says:

    Nothing new here. The GREAT programme has run for more than fifteen years.

    • Watcher says:

      No it hasn’t it ran for a few years but the BPS has delivered it since around 2004. Glad to see it back though.

  7. Dread says:

    Well done Premier Dunkley!
    The Opposition should have done more but did little to quell Gang involvement or gang related crimes.Premier Dunkley,Thankyou for caring about our sons!

  8. godson says:

    As a youth worker, weve had anti gang messages for years for our young people..guess what? They still end up on gangs..what we need is parental assistance programs. .good luck my brothers and sisters. .-peace

  9. Paradise Reclaimed says:

    Until the profits attainable through cannabis sales are eliminated, the lure of gangs will continue a threat to Bermuda.

  10. Every initiative that is aimed to help is helpful and I thank every person who is working with our children to build their skill set to navigate and live a constructive and fulfilling life.

    The Family Center’s parenting blog giving parenting tips is very helpful. And I know that every parent could use some support – some encouragement – especially parents who struggle – and I make no bones about the fact that I really struggled as a parent and was truly grateful to find several volunteer coaches who helped me make some better choices and to reunite my own family.

    Each one of us has a part to play to bring about the change that we all want so badly to bring peace, dignity and respect into our relationships.

    My challenge to myself and for everyone else is this:

    What can each one of us do to help turn lives around?

    What can each one of us do to make a difference in a young person’s life?

    We lead and we are the example.

    What kind of example are we setting?

    If we’re angry, blaming, resentful, conflict ridden and full of hatred, how can we expect our children to be anything but the same?

    So, let’s look within.

    Put down the anger the hatred and dig deep and find the passion, the compassion, to free ourselves of the habit of always doing what we’ve always done.

    Let’s change the steps of the dance – one step at a time.

    And decide: What type of future do I want to build for myself and future generations?

    If I want it to be peaceful, respectful and dignified, then how am I digging within myself to access those qualities in my life today and every day?

    And no, I don’t expect perfection the first day, but rather every day to get up and do our best, and then do the same again tomorrow.

    And when I go off track, to hope that someone will tell me that my behaviour was off, so I can do better.

    AS each one of us has amazing limitless potential and we are here to live it, be it and see it in others.

  11. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Money over morals is the overiding theme behind all of our problems ….the youth say something else….money over bit…es.which means the same thing.The theme runs from the top down throughout the society.that is why we are all failing …! Adults and children alike…!Money takes precedence over morals…!