JIS News

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  • Minister with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Karl Samuda, says the Government is looking to provide the requisite resources to bolster security arrangements at schools in order to safeguard students, teachers and other stakeholder users.
  • “I have already initiated the discussions, but I am going to invite the Permanent Secretary [in the Ministry] and her senior staff to look into the budget and see to what extent we can make provisions for full-time security… [personnel] and equipment… while schools [are] in session and also on weekends,” the Minister indicated.
  • He was addressing students and teachers of Vauxhall High School in Kingston during a visit on Wednesday (February 5) to extend condolences and support in the aftermath of the untimely death of Grade-11 Coordinator, Carl Samuels, who was shot and killed by two gunmen on the institution’s campus on January 25.

Minister with responsibility for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Karl Samuda, says the Government is looking to provide the requisite resources to bolster security arrangements at schools in order to safeguard students, teachers and other stakeholder users.

“I have already initiated the discussions, but I am going to invite the Permanent Secretary [in the Ministry] and her senior staff to look into the budget and see to what extent we can make provisions for full-time security… [personnel] and equipment… while schools [are] in session and also on weekends,” the Minister indicated.

He was addressing students and teachers of Vauxhall High School in Kingston during a visit on Wednesday (February 5) to extend condolences and support in the aftermath of the untimely death of Grade-11 Coordinator, Carl Samuels, who was shot and killed by two gunmen on the institution’s campus on January 25.

Mr. Samuda, who described the incident as “a grave tragedy”, said issues with security are among the challenges generally affecting the school system, noting that “we have incidents across the length and breadth of Jamaica” that remain a “genuine concern” for many well-thinking persons.

“This incident serves as a wake-up call… to remind us how important it is to get on top of this situation,” the Minister said.

He assured them, after touring the campus, that the Ministry will be looking to take steps to ensure that their welfare, while at school, is safeguarded.

Meanwhile, Mr. Samuda encouraged Principal, Prudence Brown-Pinnock and her staff to seek and provide counselling for students and teachers who have been traumatised by the incident.

“When an incident [like this] occurs, one has the tendency to focus entirely on the victims. However, in this situation, there are several victims [including the youngsters],” he added.

Consequently, the Minister said it is incumbent on the teachers to do everything in their power to guide the students.

“Despite the disappointment that you all feel over what has happened here, your spirits cannot afford to be dampened. Your approach and view of the future must be a positive one. We must reflect on the strategies that we employ and we must reflect on the level of success that attends on our efforts. But at no time should we get to the stage where we are so frustrated that we give up… . We have to keep trying,” Mr. Samuda added.

In the meantime, Ms. Brown-Pinnock said it has been a very difficult time for the students and staff, but that they are endeavouring to come to terms with what has happened en route to bringing closure to the matter.

“Mr. Samuels, [who] spent over 15 years here, was involved in everything. Mr. Samuels was a friend to everybody and [his death] is a major loss for us. We continue to cry, we continue to grieve… but we are trying to get education going, because we know that our children are depending on us,” she said.

Ms. Brown-Pinnock, who acknowledged the need for improved security arrangements at the school, advised that the Board and administration are also looking at how best to fill some of the needs.