KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday November 8, 2016 –School children in Jamaica will soon have the added protection of private security companies.
The decision to contract security firms as well as increase police patrols in parts of the island has been taken by the Ministry of Education following a series of recent attacks on schoolchildren, some of which have been fatal.
“We are leaving no room for criminals to prey on our students,” Minister of Education Senator Ruel Reid said in a statement yesterday.
The Ministry of Education has also assigned a special school bus service to operate on the Papine to Half-Way-Tree route used by thousands of students from different schools and backgrounds daily. The service, which will be exclusively for students, is slated to end on December 21.
Reid urged schoolchildren not to take illegal transportation.
“We recognize that there are other legitimate private operators. What our students must never do, however, is to travel on illegal buses or taxis or those commonly referred to as ‘robots’,” he said.
Reid said the ministry felt obliged to respond to recent incidents of violence against children and to enhance the safety net for the approximately 600,000 students enrolled in primary and high schools across Jamaica.
The minister noted that in preparation for the start of the new school year, the Ministry had trained 1,000 school safety officers and was also now training 400 persons under an apprenticeship programme to be safety and security support officers for schools.
“Two hundred and eighty of these persons have already been trained and have been deployed to schools,” Reid said.