Se­cu­rity guards, cops boost pa­trols to pro­tect kids

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ja­son Cross Gleaner Writer ja­son.cross@glean­erjm.com

FOL­LOW­ING A se­ries of attacks on school­child­ren in re­cent times, a few of which had fa­tal end­ings, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion has made ar­range­ments with pri­vate se­cu­rity com­pa­nies for them to in­crease the num­ber of daily pa­trols they do along cer­tain tar­geted cor­ri­dors where stu­dents tra­verse.

De­cem­ber 21 is when the terms of this ar­range­ment will end.

The po­lice are also ex­pected to in­crease their pa­trol ac­tiv­ity in sec­tions of the is­land, with close at­ten­tion to be paid to the Pap­ine to Half-Way Tree cor­ri­dor where thou­sands of stu­dents from dif­fer­ent schools and back­grounds travel daily.

“We are leav­ing no room for crim­i­nals to prey on our stu­dents,” Reid said in a state­ment yes­ter­day.

The min­is­ter also an­nounced, while mak­ing a spe­cial ap­peal to stu­dents not to take il­le­gal trans­porta­tion, that a new bus ser­vice that went into ef­fect yes­ter­day will be op­er­at­ing on the Pap­ine to Half-Way Tree route.

The ser­vice will run from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on week­days only.

“We recog­nise that there are other le­git­i­mate pri­vate op­er­a­tors (out there). What our stu­dents must never do, how­ever, is to travel on il­le­gal busses/ taxis, those com­monly re­ferred to as ro­bots,” the min­is­ter said.

FELT OBLIGED TO RE­SPOND

Reid said also that the min­istry felt obliged to re­spond to re­cent in­ci­dents of vi­o­lence against chil­dren and to en­hance the safety net for the ap­prox­i­mately 600,000 stu­dents en­rolled in pri­mary and high schools across Ja­maica.

He high­lighted that the min­istry had been tak­ing steps, even be­fore the start of the 2016 new aca­demic year in Septem­ber to put in place safety and se­cu­rity sup­port mea­sures in schools.

“Two hun­dred and eighty per­sons have al­ready been de­ployed to schools (as se­cu­rity sup­port of­fi­cers). Our deans of dis­ci­pline and school re­source of­fi­cers also re­ceived train­ing in the sum­mer (2016) in prepa­ra­tion for the school year,” Reid ex­plained.

Reid fur­ther made a call on all school lead­ers to en­gage in a Na­tional Day of Prayer for the coun­try’s chil­dren, slated for Novem­ber 11. Schools will re­ceive more de­tails on any up­dates through school bul­letins.

Safety and se­cu­rity in all schools is one of the Min­istry’s top pol­icy pri­or­i­ties.

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