The Ministry of Interior Council hosted by Salem bin Kubainah Al Rashedi at his residence in Al Nahda, Abu Dhabi, discussed the effects of School Violence on both students and academic achievement. The Council also   highlighted the importance of joint action to address and prevent this problem via all available tools, in order to reduce its negative impacts on the educational process, which is considered as a fundamental pillar of development in the country.

The council is part  of the series of awareness councils organized by the Law Respect Culture Bureau, in cooperation with the Security Media Department at the General Directorate of Security Support at the General Secretariat of the Office of H.H Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. The council called for enhancing coordinating response with the Community Police, the Social Support Centers, and the Abu Dhabi Education Council to stop the spread of violence among school students. Additionally, the participants unanimously agreed on the need to activate the role of the parents through opening the channels of dialogue between the parents and the children in order to eliminate this negative phenomenon.

The participants also agreed that educational institutions are key pillars for teaching youth the fundamentals of good values, manners, and respect for others, and that the school environment is a fertile ground to nurture righteous generations and to reduce school violence through the promotion of cultural awareness. It was noted that the student’s main environment was that of the family, and it should be free from all forms of physical and psychological violence. Participants stated that they believe that these steps can be achieved by strengthening the communication between the family and the school, and through strengthening a culture of dialogue between parents and children.

Media Personality Issa Al Mail, Abu Dhabi Emirates Channel stressed that the responsibility to address school violence among students is not limited to a single entity; rather, it is rather a shared responsibility that begins with the family and reaches through educational institutions and concerned governmental authorities. He also noted that the only way to solve this issue is by joining efforts and activating coordination by intensifying awareness for both students and their parents.

For his part Mr. Hassan Mussa, from Abu Dhabi Education Council identified the different types of school violence, notably  destruction of school property,  violence between school students; violence directed against teachers or teachers’ assaults. He also pointed out that there are numerous underlying factors in school violence, notably, lack of legal education about the school laws and regulations, in addition to family issues, psychological issues, and parents’ neglect.

Major Dr. Mohammed Khalifa Al Ali, Director of the Ministry of Interior’s Child Protection Center highlighted the role of the Ministry of Interior in countering school violence. The Ministry of Interior is cooperating and coordinating with families, schools, society, and other concerned authorities. He also noted that concerted community efforts are a fundamental step towards addressing the issue of school violence, by brainstorming and exchanging ideas and opinions between concerned entities in order to reach positive results, maintain students’ rights and protect them against school violence. He also explained that statistics indicate that bad companions are among the root causes of school violence; as per the old saying: ‘Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are’.

Adding further, Major Al Ali said: “The Ministry of Interior is organizing awareness programs at the countrywide level, to boost awareness and culture of students and to acquaint them with the measures to be taken to end violence against students.” He also referred to the instrumental role played by the Community Police and the Social Support Centers  to address  problems amicably before before they escalate to litigation or arbitration;  which would contribute to protecting children’s future. Major Al Ali also highlighted the leading societal role played by the Ministry of Interior’s Child Protection Centre, via the Hemayati application, which enables parents to keep track of their children at all times.

For his part, Lieutenant Colonel Issa Khalfan Al Shamesi, from the Social Support Centers Department at Abu Dhabi Police, said: “Looking into the root causes  of school violence has shown that family education, the social environment surrounding the child, in addition to bad companions are among the key reasons.” Al Shamesi pointed that the Ministry of Interior is addressing school violence via its competent departments, which provide advice and awareness, as well as care for juveniles, by educating them on the proper ways to change their behavior, and promoting the advantages of dealing with others.

Towards the end of the council, Mr. Salem bin Kubainah Al Rashedi expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Ministry of Interior for launching the awareness councils’ initiative, which tackle issues of concern to community members that are closely related to the future of their children; reinforce community ties;  and issue recommendations to address these issues and strengthen the efforts exerted by official and popular entities.

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