Nagra Plunkett, Assignment Coordinator
School board outraged at cops' action in missing-bag incident
Cornwall College's school board has apologised to parents and the group of grade-10 boys who were transported in a police truck to the Montego Freeport Police Station on Tuesday over a missing school bag.
"The board apologises to the parents and guardians of the students for the anxiety, trauma and inconvenience they undoubtedly experienced," read a statement from Chairman Reverend Everton Jackson. "The principal has already been instructed to organise debriefing sessions immediately for all students involved."
Jackson said he was "stunned" by the measures engaged by the school resource officer (SRO) following the incident that involved a grade-10 class at the 116-year-old all-boys institution in Montego Bay, St James.
"I am disturbed about the particular incident which really should not have happened … . The (school's) internal mechanisms should have been activated to deal with that incident," the chairman, who pastors the Calvary Baptist Circuit of Churches in St James, told The Gleaner in a subsequent interview.
"While we do not condone criminal activities, other ways must be found to deal with students who have committed minor offences on the school compound rather than subjecting an entire class to the humiliation of being taken to the police station."
Reports are that on Tuesday, a student reported that his JanSport backpack with his books and house keys had gone missing. It is understood that the SRO requested assistance from his colleagues after no information was forthcoming from the boy's classmates.
The school's board of governors is scheduled to meet next Tuesday to discuss the matter that has left members of the Cornwall College community incensed.
A press release from the Constabulary Communication Network suggested that the boys were taken to the police station to be addressed by a community relations officer.
"While they were being spoken to, one of the boys confessed to taking the bag. The police then used the opportunity to further address the boys about discipline, education and personal development. Their parents were then called and the boys were handed over to them."
The boy who reportedly confessed to taking the school bag was detained by the police.