Minister of Education, Honourable Andrew Holness, has said he is satisfied that there was no breakdown in security at the Duhaney Park Primary School in St. Andrew, where a student went missing on Tuesday (October 13).
Yesterday (October 14), members of the community demonstrated at the school, padlocking the gates and forcing classes to be suspended for the day, following reports that 10-year old Annaleise Davis could not be found.
Today, Mr. Holness visited the school and had a closed-door meeting with the Chairman of the school Board, the Principal and Vice-principal and Annaleise’s Grade Co-ordinator. Following that meeting, Mr. Holness also met with teachers at the institution, who were shaken up after the demonstration.
Speaking with journalists after the closed-door meeting, Mr. Holness said that Annaleise had been returned today and that she was unharmed. The Minister said he was satisfied with the level of security at the school and that the 10-year old appeared to have wandered off the school compound during a change of shifts.
Minster of Education, Honourable Andrew Holness (right), and Principal of the Duhaney Park Primary School, in St. Andrew, Dr. Vincent Campbell, speak with journalists today (October 15), following their closed-door meeting to discuss the disappearance of 10-year-old student, Annaleise Davis, from the school on Tuesday, October 14. The student was found today.
“I don’t think we could place any great blame on the school for what has happened. There is a period of time, during the normal school operation, when unavoidably, they have to let out the kids and the gates have to be opened. It’s a shift school, so there is a transition period of time. We suspect that may have been the time when the child left the school,” he said.
Mr. Holness reiterated the importance of ensuring that teachers check for attendance twice during the day and noted that the incident has brought into sharp focus the need to get schools off the shift system as soon as possible.
“We really have to get the schools off the shift system. Whenever I get the opportunity to speak, I always say to the nation that we have to build more schools. We simply do not have enough schools and this is an example of problems that can occur because of the shift system,” he argued.
The Minister also expressed disappointment with the manner in which the matter was dealt with by the community.
Minster of Education, Honourable Andrew Holness (left), meets with Chairman of the Duhaney Park Primary School Board, Dr. Blossom O’Meally- Nelson (centre), and the school’s principal, Dr. Vincent Campbell, at the school, today (October 15), following demonstrations at the institution yesterday (October 14), by persons protesting the disappearance of 10-year-old student, Annaleise Davis. The student was turned over to the police today.
“We would urge our parents not to act in this way; that no one wins like this, that it would have been better to join with the Principal and the staff in actively searching for the child. We wasted a lot of time in protest,” he said.
For his part, Principal, Dr. Vincent Campbell, said it was “welcome relief” for the school that Annaleise was not hurt.
Meanwhile, counselling has been arranged for the students and teachers who were affected by the student’s disappearance and the subsequent protest.