Security guards, cops boost patrols to protect kids
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.