MINISTER with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information Karl Samuda says the Government is looking to provide the requisite resources to bolster security arrangements at schools in order to safeguard students, teachers, and other stakeholder users.
“I have already initiated the discussions, but I am going to invite the permanent secretary [in the ministry] and her senior staff to look into the budget and see to what extent we can make provisions for full-time security [personnel] and equipment… while schools [are] in session and also on weekends,” the minister indicated.
He was addressing students and teachers of Vauxhall High School in Kingston during a visit on Wednesday to extend condolences and support in the aftermath of the untimely death of Grade-11 Coordinator Carl Samuels, who was shot and killed by two gunmen on the institution’s campus on January 25.
Samuda, who described the incident as “a grave tragedy”, said issues with security are among the challenges generally affecting the school system, noting that “we have incidents across the length and breadth of Jamaica” that remain a “genuine concern” for many well-thinking persons.
“This incident serves as a wake-up call… to remind us how important it is to get on top of this situation,” the minister said.
He assured them, after touring the campus, that the ministry will be looking to take steps to ensure that their welfare, while at school, is safeguarded.
Meanwhile, Samuda encouraged Principal Prudence Brown-Pinnock and her staff to seek and provide counselling for students and teachers who have been traumatised by the incident.