Special security measures coming for students in St Jamess
With fear spreading over the intensification of gun violence in Kingston and St James, Education Minister Ruel Reid yesterday said special security measures are being considered to reduce risks to children and schools.
He told the Senate on Friday that the measures would be made public soon.
"The matter of St James is of concern to all of us. I'm not able to give you all the details. I'll come back to you on what we're doing behind the scenes to intervene. We'll have to ensure that we work with the stakeholders in Montego Bay to protect our children, to protect our staff, to protect our schools," he said.
Reid continued: "We had some issues with west Kingston and we worked with the Ministry of National Security to put additional security in those areas, and consequently, we're able to have the wonderful start to the school year in west Kingston. We intervened and we demonstrated to the country that we had taken measures to ensure there were no impediments to students in their education and getting to schools."
Opposition Senator Lambert Brown requested an update on what the ministry was doing to ensure school and student safety.
On Monday, criminals chasing a man they later killed, shot up a bus transporting students to school in St James.
Several students received injuries that were reportedly not life threatening.
Later in the week, a primary school in one of the volatile communities had to go on lockdown after a shoot-out involving criminals took place nearby.
About a month ago, a five-year-old boy was shot and killed in Kingston as gang violence raged in some of the capital's inner-city communities.
Meanwhile, Reid said efforts were under way to boost security and safety in schools.
He announced that 109 deans of discipline were trained in July for placement in schools this academic year.
Along with that, Reid said 100 police youth clubs have been established in schools and that the Caribbean Maritime Institute cadet corps will be "fully rolled out in five schools".
"This is all in keeping with our thrust to improve safety, but more importantly, respect for authority and the facilitation of positive behaviour change," he told the Senate.