To improve safety and security in the island’s secondary schools, more institutions will soon be equipped with metal detectors. The schools will be provided with handheld metal detectors as well as walk-through metal-detector scanners. The four schools that will receive walk-through metal detectors are Edith Dalton James, Brown’s Town, Anchovy and Norman Manley High schools.
This was disclosed by Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, during the handover ceremony of five walk-through metal-detector scanners and 130 handheld metal detectors at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in New Kingston, on November 15.
The metal detectors are expected to be used in the most troubled schools across the island. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing funding to support the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information programme, which is aimed at reducing violence among students.
The project will be funded at a cost of US$4 million over two years, with the USAID providing US$3 million and the Government, US$1 million.
“It’s the first time the Ministry is investing in walk-through detectors. We have 171 secondary schools, and most of them will get one (handheld device),” Senator Reid said.
He emphasised that safety and security is the number-one priority of the Ministry. “Jamaica has seen high levels of antisocial behaviour and violence across the country, and the school system must respond to repel that, and this is why I’m saying it requires a whole management and resocialisation, because this is going to be a deterrent,” he said.
Senator Reid said this forms part of systems and measures being implemented to ensure that schools are safe for children, teachers and all those who work in schools.
cting Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in Jamaica, Maura Barry Boyle, said the initiative is a major milestone in the partnership between USAID and the Ministry of Education for improved safety and security in schools.
“While these won’t solve the problem, they will go a far way in significantly reducing the number of weapons that make it into our schools, and thereby, hopefully, reducing the incidents of violent behaviours on the school compounds,” she said.
Ms. Barry Boyle said metal detectors have proven to act as deterrents for children bringing weapons to schools. “We are not aiming to turn our schools into security facilities, but we must recognise that when we reduce the number of weapons in our schools, we gradually reduce the number of deadly and violent incidents,” she said.
Endorsing the initiative, Principal, Cedar Grove Academy, Otis Brown, said the partnership is critical given the number of violent acts in schools.
Mr. Brown, who is also President of the Association of Principals and Vice-Principals, said it is hoped the equipment will make the schools safer.
Sourced from a publication in the Jamaica Information Services