Students searched for weapons and cellphones
Front Page
October 5, 2007

Students searched for weapons and cellphones

In keeping with the Ministry of Education’s policy of combating violence in schools, security officers from the Premium Security Service were deployed to the Petit Bordel Secondary School (PBSS) on Monday, where they searched students for weapons and cell phones as they entered the compound.{{more}}

Although most students were cooperative, many were apprehensive and stayed back. However, they later submitted to the searches.

As with other schools throughout the island, the PBSS has had its share of violence; as recently as last Friday, a student was threatened with a gun on the school’s compound by a young man from Chateaubelair.

School Principal Wendy Rodney told SEARCHLIGHT that she welcomes the move to put security officers on school premises, as in the past, community members had entered the school compound and threatened and cursed students and teachers. “As with anything new, it takes time to get accustomed to, so I expect the process to be more efficient soon,” she said.

In a symposium on school violence in late May, Assistant Commissioner of Police Ekron Lockhart said that in 2005 there were 115 crimes reported against persons below the age of 16. In that same session, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Laura Browne, hinted that the Ministry was considering installing metal detectors at educational institutions throughout St Vincent and Grenadines.

Earlier this year, a teacher at the Dr J P Eustace Memorial Secondary School wrestled with a student to take away a gun; a student at the Community College was stabbed by another student; and a Bethel High School student was hospitalized in serious condition, after being stabbed in the stomach by another student.

The entire area around the PBSS was recently fenced; however, the main entrance does not have a gate. Some weapons, including a pair of scissors, a nail file and compasses were confiscated; the security officers said that compasses and dividers will be taken away if they are not in a set.

On Wednesday, September 12th, Superintendent of Police (SOP) Ellsworth Hackshaw was assigned to the Ministry of Education to study and make recommendations for school security. When Searchlight spoke with Hackshaw on Wednesday evening, he said that he is still conducting research for his report.