Sun | May 31, 2020

Robust effort on the way to encourage parents to use Stay Alert app

Published:Tuesday | January 3, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Everton Hannam

The National Parent-Teacher Association of Jamaica (NPTAJ) has said it will be making a robust effort to encourage parents to use the Stay Alert app, which was recently introduced by the Ministry of National Security in a bid to protect students as they engage in various activities both on and off school compounds.

Commenting on the gruesome stabbing which left 17-year-old Stephan McLaren dead, Everton Hannam, president of the association, noted that it will be critical for parents and students to use every measure necessary to protect themselves and their families.

McLaren left home on Saturday night for a new year’s party with friends. After leaving the party, he was walking along Hagley Park Road with three other boys headed for home. He stopped at a spot about a block away from the party’s location to urinate. Shortly after, Stephan’s friends, who were already a little distance in front, saw him rushing towards them saying that he had been stabbed. They immediately organised help for him to be transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.


Hannam believes there is a level of urgency needed to tackle the many incidents of violence against the nation’s citizens.

“As the National Parent-Teacher Association, we will continue to engage our parents in using the Stay Alert app, which the Ministry of National Security has informed, permitted, instructed and asked each parent on their particular communication instrument – android phones – to download, activate and use where necessary,” he told The Gleaner.

“This is just one of the ways to ensure that we are protected, in addition to ensuring that parents stay alert when it comes to situations that would endanger their children, themselves and other citizens. That will be one of the focuses and the targets that the National PTA will be engaging,” he said.

While commending efforts to ramp up security for students, including the Ministry of Education making arrangements with private security companies to increase the number of daily patrols they do along certain targeted corridors where students traverse, Hannam said no single solution can solve the problem. He also urged parents to do all they can to make sure their children are sensitised about basic strategies to protect themselves.

“We continue to lobby for an exclusive transportation system for our students. There can be no single action that will reduce or eliminate the high incidence of crime and so there has to be a collective effort,” he said.

“I want to express our condolences to the parents whose son has been cut down at such a time of his life, and also want to express condolences to the students, staff and friends. We want to call upon our parents to exercise and to continue to train our children to follow security measures and security procedures outlined by the State.

“It is the ultimate responsibility of the State to protect it’s citizens; however, it takes a collective effort for all of us as parents to be alert. and it points to the need for us to be cautious of strange activities within our surroundings,” he charged.