Empowering the transitioning process to reduce crime!!

Posted by at 30 October, at 07 : 30 AM Print

By Dr. Neals J. Chitan

As humans, the process of transitioning is always a precarious time that can make or break us. Migrating from your country of birth to another land comes with its challenges of adaptation into a new culture with its new norms and values which can make us either socially better or worse.

The transition of being promoted at work also comes with its unique challenges to change. For instance, it may entail an attitude and work ethic change from being a regular employee to supervising and being accountable for employees.

Similarly is the case with the human growth transitioning process from child to teenager, when physical maturation most times precede mental and emotional maturation, frequently leading to serious social and behavioral complications.

You see, because transitioning is such a crucial aspect of the growth process, it is imperative to know what “luggage” you take along with you and which you leave behind as you make that move. This process sometimes demand; a reassessing of your value system, the reasserting of ones’ self to see where and how you fit in within the new environment, while also  frequently demanding the need to create new peer groups within which to function.

In my work internationally as a social skill consultant within school boards in North America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean alike, I have seen the best and worst of the transitioning process within the school setting, and have come to the conclusion, that the secondary school is the launching pad for the success or failure within our communities.

As I speak in colleges and universities, I hear and see the astounding heart throbbing results and testimonies of what I call the “successful seven eights,” while very frequently, in the same town, hearing the sad, mournful regrets of their high school classmates the “failed one eight” terrorizing our communities, locked up in prison or severely struggling to make ends meet for themselves and their unplanned offspring.

This reality has arrested my attention despite the country I work, and I was urged into action one more time to take a closer look as to how we can mitigate this transitioning process to greatly change the outcomes. So currently in the capacity of social skill consultant and crime reduction specialist to the Ministry of National Security in St. Kitts-Nevis, I decided to engage the copyrighted “MOVING ON UP Transitioning Program,” a proposed approach to Grade 8s transitioning into high school in the Ward #4 family of schools of the Toronto District School Board.

As is well established in school boards across the globe, there are several primary schools from any given area, feeding into one regional secondary school every new school year. As these transitioning students make their first step into high school, they firstly have to deal with the demotion of their senior status in primary school to the most junior status in secondary school, an adjustment which many fail to make, thus beginning the most crucial aspect of their educational journey on the wrong foot.

Then comes the issue of forming new peer and friendship groups from among the new slew of students transitioning. These students may hold lower values, have a different level of respect for rules and come from homes and schools where discipline is less enforced, thus exposing good intentioned students to their indifferent and less responsible way of life. One wrong turn here can begin a life of failure for an unsuspecting student in transition.

To address this situation, we have decided to engage the “MOVING ON UP” our ten session transitioning program in every grade six class in all twenty eight primary schools across the twin island Federation of St. Kitts-Nevis. The intention is to equip all the 2018-2019 transitioning students with the same positive concepts and strategies that will create a huge national support group of form one Secondary School students who will hopefully possess the same level of respect for; themselves, others, authority, effort, time and success.

With such a powerful plan in place, we look forward to greatly reducing the incidences of high school suspensions, failure, drop outs, arrests, teenage parenthood and disrespectful behavior that feed the cycle of criminality in the beautiful islands of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Can you imagine the powerful impact on the Caribbean Islands if we can empower the transitioning process into high school, thus further increasing the success rate while drastically reducing the numbers falling through the cracks? Can’t wait to see myself!!


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