JIS News

Minister of National Security, Dr. Peter Phillips, has reported marked improvement in secondary schools where the Safe Schools Programme (SSP) has been introduced.
“There is improvement in the relationship between the school and community and an increase in awareness of the roles and responsibilities of parents, teachers and students in relation to education, and in improving the schools’ safety,” the Minister said in his contribution to the 2007/08 Sectoral Debate yesterday (June 13) in the House of Representatives.
He noted that as a result of the intervention of the School Safety Officers (SROs) four guns, 128 offensive weapons and 78 packets of ganja have been recovered. “The most alarming discovery is that the SROs confiscated drugs and interdicted 34 vendors at various school gates,” he stated.
Currently, SROs are operating in 127 schools. Of this number, 10 schools have received panic alarm systems to facilitate rapid response from the local police. “The schools that have used it (panic alarm) reported that the police responded quickly and dealt effectively both with invasions on the school property and threats to children,” Dr. Phillips said.
The Security Minister reported that in addition to the work of the SROs, the SSP has collaborated with the National Youth Service and the European Commission to train more than 160 peer leaders from schools islandwide.
The Ministry has also partnered with the HEART Trust/NTA to provide training in parenting skills in Kingston, Portmore, May Pen and Montego Bay.
In the meantime, Dr. Phillips said that in an effort to address the issue of order on public transportation as it affects students, the Ministry has been involved in a ‘Safe Bus Ride’ programme for the past several months. The programme is being executed with the support of several non governmental organizations, the Island Special Constabulary Force and other government agencies.
“The collective efforts of these partners are expected to bring noticeable improvements in the commuting experience of student during the next school year,” said the Minister.

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