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JIS News

The Ascot High School will be moving speedily to implement the security guidelines recommended by the Ministry of Education, to ensure the safety of the institution’s student and teacher population.
Education Minister, Andrew Holness, made this disclosure to JIS News following meetings with school administrators and teachers of the Portmore-based institution yesterday (May 7). The discussions came in the wake of the recent stabbing of a teacher by a student.
According to Mr. Holness, after meeting with the principal and pointing out “certain deficiencies”, he was assured that the recommended safety and security guidelines would be implemented with haste.
“Many schools and school leaders did not take on the security issue as a management function and the Ministry is trying to change that culture. So, the principal has assured me that they will be speeding up the implementation of these guidelines, including the setting up of their safety and security committee and the whole matter of recording and reporting,” he told JIS News.
He informed that the school was in possession of portable hand-held metal detectors, which were used randomly.
The Minister noted that the stabbing incident would not necessarily influence policy changes at the school as it was recognised that once the guidelines were properly followed, incidents such as these would be reduced.
“What we have to do is ensure that the policy guidelines that we set are being implemented faithfully in the schools. The more we begin to do this, the better our chances are at reducing the incidence of possession of offensive weapons,” he stated.
The Education Minister told JIS News that despite the unfortunate incident, Ascot High was an impressive school and was “at a point of transformation”.
He informed that before the incident occurred the Ministry was on the verge of implementing a pilot project to improve the level of performance at the institution, in addition to several other schools.
“We were actually planning to make Ascot High a centre of excellence. That means we would have put more resources in terms of the financial resources we give to the school, in terms of the students we place at the school, and in terms of how we help the school and the community come together to strengthen their relationship,” he told JIS News.
In the meantime, Mr. Holness said that the discussions held were fruitful. “What we have done here today is very important in reinforcing a strategy for managing behaviour in schools,” he stated.
The safety and security measures recommended by the Education Ministry for schools include putting perimeter fencing in place, increasing guidance counselling resources, appointing a dean of discipline, establishing safe zones, taking a zero tolerance approach to violence, developing a culture of performance, among other things.

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