Categorized | National News

Workshop For School Police Officers Begins

The reintroduction of the school-based policing programme represents the government’s commitment to counter the “alarming and unacceptable levels” of violence in Bahamian schools by providing safe school havens for young Bahamian children.
“This violence includes, but is not limited to, instances of the sale and abuse of drugs, truancy, bullying, vandalism, assault, gang activities and the use of weapons,” Minister of National Security, Dr. Bernard J. Nottage told the participants yesterday.
He said the initiative will reintroduce trained police officers onto pubic school campuses to assist school administrators, teachers and security offices in maintaining a safe school environment.
Last week, Minister of Education, Jerome Fitzgerald explained that the officers will enforce all the school rules.
The education minister said their purpose will also include making school campuses crime free zero tolerance zones and establish and maintain close and open relationships with school administrators, security and students to collaborate on common goals.
“Through their collaborative efforts, preventative mediations will be embarked upon to identify and prevent planned and random acts of violence and to intervene and lend support to students at-risk of, or already engaged in, violent and anti-social behaviour,” Dr. Nottage said.
“This collaboration will properly underscore and seek to institute the consistent protocols inherent in establishing a harmonious and safe framework where all stakeholders work in tandem to achieve common goals. My ministry is committed to the government’s mandate to introduce a sustainable national crime agenda that will reduce and control crime throughout The Bahamas.”
Police officers will be placed in the schools once they re-open on September 3.
Dr. Nottage added the reintroduction of police in schools is in keeping with a “broader national vision and the more parochial educational vision to create safety in one of the pertinent institutions of society.”
“Additionally, through the implementation of safe school policing initiatives, the partnership between the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of National Security, has been strengthened. It is our shared vision that the schools and wider community be transformed, and order and safety restored,” Dr. Nottage added.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Perry Christie staunchly defended his government’s decision to reinstate the school-based policing initiative despite mounting criticisms by the Free National Movement (FNM).

“Students have been killed and we clearly believe based on research, that until such time as we have proper security in the schools, with people properly trained to be able to deal with conflict resolutions and mediation disputes, we need police officers in the schools to ensure an environment that is conducive to learning,” Mr. Christie said.

Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade could not, however, state just how many police officers would be involved in the programme.

“We have selected distinct officers who will be assigned to each school on a daily basis. Some schools will have three, some will have more than three and some will have two; however, every single police officer is going to be attuned to what’s happening come the opening of school,” Commissioner Greenslade said last week.
The workshop ends today.

Sasha Lightbourne

Written by Sasha Lightbourne

Journal Staff Writer

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