Categorized | National News

Gov’t To Reinstate Policing Programme

In an effort to stem the scourge of violence in public schools, Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage revealed that the Christie administration intends to reintroduce its school policing programme for the beginning of the new school year.

From fights to gang related activity to stabbings, violence in schools is a major concern here in The Bahamas.

Despite there being a slight reduction over the last year in the reported incidents of school violence, Minister Nottage noted that there are still many incidents that occur, which do not come to the attention of the public.
“We’ve heard over the last two or three years some serious criminal offences being perpetrated upon students by persons in authority and others,” Minister Nottage said.

“We believe that the school environment should be a safe place for learning. We do not want to create a police state in the school, but we want to have available to the school’s administration persons who have the maturity, the experience, the competence and the knowledge, to keep a safe environment.”

The Christie administration first introduced the idea of putting police in schools during its first term in office.

However, the Free National Movement (FNM) Government dismantled the programme in 2007 and instead stationed officers outside the schools.

But the national security minister believes reverting to police presence in the schools will assist greatly in not only security and safety, but discipline.

He added that the reintroduction of the school policing programme would take a more specific approach to the needs and level of violence at specific campuses.

“We have to find a way to deal with those types of issues – prevent the violence, bring a sense of calm to the school, bring a sense of security to teachers and the adults that have to interact with these young people and hopefully all of the types of incidents which do not necessarily result in death, but which affect the school environment adversely can be brought to an end or at least to a reducible minimum,” he said.

Minister Nottage admits there are some students and principals who object to police presence in schools, but said that his ministry – along with the Ministry of Education – is working to address those concerns.

“I know from the earlier versions there were certain questions about who has the authority in the schools. So we have to work through those things. But we don’t plan to create police states, all we want to do is to create a safe environment,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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