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Parents and teachers protest lack of security at CHSS

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Dozens of parents descended upon the entrance of Clare Hall Secondary School (CHSS) on Monday to protest the lack of security at the school.

The move follows the daytime intrusion of masked, weapon-wielding attackers at the school last Tuesday.  

Bearing a cutlass and golf club, their aim was to attack a male CHSS student. Their attempt was thwarted, however, when teachers intervened and chased them off the compound which they accessed by climbing a wall at the rear of the campus.

Wearing white shirts, the parents and guardians demanded that the authorities do more to protect students and teachers at the public school.

“Me hab one pickney,” said a mother who spoke with Pointe Xpress on the condition her name would not be disclosed. “Me work hard fa send she ah school fu learn. Not for no mask man run een pan them like ah some Western movie ah gwan up dey.

“Is like they telling people their children don’t matter. Ah since last year this nonsense ah carry on and all you ah hear is meeting, meeting but nothing ah happen fa protect the children an dem.

“Police dey, nobody know wa the soldier them does do. Put them in the schools and them and keep the children and them safe.”

While concerned parents voiced their displeasure outside the school’s compound, on the inside, teachers staged a sit-in over what they claimed was the Ministry of Education’s inability to ensure that two police officers are stationed on the school’s premises. 

The CHSS educators argued that assurances were given by education officials during a meeting last week that adequate security would have been provided to ensure their safety and that of their pupils. Almost a week following the incident on Tuesday, however, only one police officer was deployed to the school on Monday morning.

Principal Ashworth Azille’s guarantee that another officer was expected to arrive did little to change the teachers’ minds.

No classes were held yesterday at CHSS and students were dismissed by noon.

The concerns over security were compounded after it was discovered that vandals targeted the school over the weekend.

Last week, Minister of Information and Information Technology, Melford Nicholas, confirmed that steps are being taken to improve security in public schools. 

These measures include the installation of closed-circuit television cameras, however, this will not be completed until March this year.

This was reinforced by Prime Minister Gaston Browne over the weekend.

“To reiterate, the work is in progress to equip our schools with IT surveillance to complement the physical presence of security.  

“These measures… will be complemented with regular spot checks by law enforcement,” Prime Minister Browne said.

While security personnel have been placed in schools, loopholes remain which allow criminals to continue to commit various crimes which expose both faculty and students to harm.

Following the incident last week, Minister of Education, Daryll Matthew, and Director of Education, Clare Browne, met with those affected by the CHSS invasion.

Principal Azille met Director Browne yesterday afternoon following the latest chapter in the ongoing school security saga, however, the outcome of that meeting is not yet known.   

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