Crawford rejects suggestion of lewd music fuelling school violence Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Opposition Spokesman on Education and Training, Senator Damion Crawford, has rejected Education and Youth Minister, Fayval Williams’ assertion that children’s presence in environments of lewd music could be one of the factors that contribute to school violence.

Williams made the comment during the 2024/25 Sectoral Debate in the Houses of Representatives on Wednesday, citing loud music and lewd lyrics as potential factors affecting students’ behaviour.

She described as “utter madness”, the scourge of violence plaguing the nation’s schools, which has left some students dead and others injured.

The minister noted some factors which she said determine if children arrive at school fully rested or simply exhausted from lack of sleep.

Among those she pointed to were the very loud music being played in some communities, along with music selectors who scream at the top of their voices until early morning on school nights.

“It is the lewd lyrics being broadcast in some of the public passenger vehicles that our students have to travel in to get to school that will determine if they arrive at school in a calm spirit or sexually charged,” Williams asserted.

“Add to this the access to weapons and drugs and the fact that many of our children are witnessing violent acts in their homes and within their communities,” said the minister.

In responding to that specific point from Williams regarding lewd music, Crawford wrote a thread on X, formerly Twitter, disagreeing with the minister’s viewpoint.

“If half of a statement is true, then the entire statement is false. Therefore, the conversation isn’t if children should listen to lewd music, it isn’t if public transportation should play it. It’s about does music lead to violent actions,” Crawford wrote.

“The argument has little political value to me because it’s hard to explain and many already have concluded that music is a contributor.

“I continue the fight because if we have the wrong diagnosis, we will apply the wrong treatment,” the senator reasoned.

Crawford argued that academic research identifies underlying push factors for violence among children, none of which he said includes music.

He also pointed to a bias in separating music from other media, such as movies, video games, comics and cartoons, with similar violent themes.

“But let us say the minister is right and the lewd music is indeed a contributor to violent behaviour. What is the policy that is being proposed, or is the Government’s duty just to diagnose?” Crawford asked.

Added the senator: “While I disagree with the causal impact, I do believe unwanted consumption of any content should not be allowed.”

He went to present proposals to the minister to control undesired exposure to content, including event rating and entertainment zoning.

“Finally, the minister should consider a social marketing campaign called ‘Just Art’, where the artist(es) are used as promoters of peace, and that their music is simply art,” Crawford suggested.

On social media, some users were not having it, and took serious issue with Crawford’s position on the matter.

“Damion, for the love of God, the conversation was not about music and violence!

“The conversation was about … diff(erent) environments and how they can contribute to a child’s behaviour. You are regarded as a ‘bright mind’, (so) please act as such… Did the minister only refer to music????” a female stated.

A man wrote: “Some valid points were made, senator. However, we as a nation cannot continue to ignore the fact that there is a correlation.

“Recently there was a feud between two rappers, which lead to one rapper’s home being shot at. We’ve seen this in the Jamaican landscape where children become a product of the music,” he added.

In an earlier post on X, Crawford reacted to the minister’s comments in Parliament by stating that, “I’m tired of this foolish argument proposed by ppl who are out of ideas”.

A woman reacted to that response from the senator.

“Sen Crawford, from a mother’s perspective, let me share that this is indeed a fact (regarding lewd music)… I have a 13-year-old daughter and I see what the exposure does…,” the woman suggested.

“While not the only factor, let me assure you, it is. What is needed is guidance in the prevention of its impact on behaviour,” she stated.

Another woman shared: “I saw a minibus loading in Cross Roads (in St Andrew) with school students one day, and the type of lyrics playing in the vehicle wasn’t even fit for the bedroom. It was loud and disgusting.”