SLTU Reiterates Call for Better Security Measures at Schools

THE perennial concerns about school security on the island resurfaced, this week, after ‘machete wielding’ bandits stormed into the Ciceron Secondary School resulting in a student sustaining injury in the fracas.

On Wednesday, it was reported that masked individuals with machetes showed up at the Ciceron Secondary School, and in the process left teachers and students befuddled and traumatized.

Reports state that at about 2.45 p.m. three males wearing masks entered the school compound, apparently in search of another male. A bottle was hurled at the school and shattered resulting in what appeared to be minor injury to a female student.

In the aftermath of this latest incident, President of the Saint Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU), Don Howell expressed his dismay about the brazen nature of the act committed by the culprits. He reiterated the importance of employing efficient security officers to guard these academic institutions.

“The SLTU will not allow its members to operate in those circumstances, we want to see some tangible action being taken at the Ciceron Secondary School as it relates to school security,” Howell told reporters, outside the school compound, Wednesday.

“Certain pronouncements were made to the union at the start of the academic year and we are here …and we don’t see those measures in place,” he stressed.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education disclosed that former Commissioner of Police Ausbert Regis has been appointed as Security Advisor. His task entailed undertaking a comprehensive security audit of the island’s academic institutions and to recommend measures aimed at enhancing school security.

Minister of Education Shawn Edward had addressed the issue on school security, as students prepared to return to classes following the summer vacation. He said it was a priority issue for the government which had received a Security Audit, and were set on implementing the recommendations.

“School security remains a priority for the Ministry of Education,” said Edward. “We wish to reassure parents, students and staff at our schools that the recommendations from the recently conducted Security Audit are being implemented to create a safe and conducive school environment, which remains a major priority for us at the Ministry of Education.”

Meanwhile, Howell said the SLTU called for an emergency meeting and met with the Ministry of Education officials, on Thursday, to alert them about the security concerns at schools on the island.

He reiterated the call that the authorities need to implement better and more stringent security measures at the island’s schools.

The SLTU president also called on all education stakeholders to join the SLTU in advocating for better school security in Saint Lucia.

“School security for the SLTU is not just about the teachers. It is also about the students and all who occupy the school compound,” noted Howell.

“So, I’m calling on all education stakeholders, our PTAs, our Students’ Council, our National Youth Council, and all of them to join the SLTU in continuing the advocacy for better school security on this island,” he added.

“Our teachers need to feel and know they work in a safe environment. We will do what is necessary to ensure our members feel safe at work,” the SLTU President asserted.

In the meantime, the SLTU has requested some form of ‘physiological debriefing’ for teachers and students at the Ciceron Secondary School to avert traumatic stress, in the wake of this latest incident.

Law enforcement officers are currently investigating the matter.

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