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The searching of students in school for weapons will become mandatory, as the Ministry of Education seeks to intensify efforts, to promote and ensure safety in schools.
This was disclosed by Education Minister, Andrew Holness, during a tour yesterday (November 18) of Dunoon Technical High School in Kingston, where 16-year-old Shevon Johnson, was fatally stabbed by another student on the institution’s premises on Monday (November 17).
“It shows that we have to intensify our efforts.now more than ever, I am convinced that searches have to become a feature of our education system,” the Minister pointed out.
The Minister appealed to parents to check children to ensure that they are not carrying weapons to schools. “I am appealing to our principals, when you discover weapons, report it to the police,” he added.
Minister Holness informed that the Ministry was working closely with the Ministry of National Security, in an effort to curb and respond to the acts of violence that are occurring within the schools.
“I think the nation has to come to a new understanding, that much of the crime that we are experiencing in the society is born out of the schools or starts in the schools and so we have to work very closely with the Ministry of National Security to get on top of the situation. So it is not just an issue of keeping students safe from the crime and violence outside of the school, but we also have to keep them safe within the school,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that searches will be conducted by resource officers, pointing out that, under the new safety and security guidelines, which will form the Safe Schools Policy, educators will be given the power to search.
In the meantime, he expressed sorrow at Johnson’s death and extended condolences to his family. “We will give her [Shevon’s mother] all the support necessary so that she can recover from this traumatic incident, we will provide her with counselling assistance and assistance in other forms to ensure that she can overcome this devastating lost,” Mr. Holness assured.
Principal of the school, Geraldine Arthurs, said that counselling sessions have been undertaken for both students and teachers, who have been affected by the incident. The overall mood at the institution was reflective, though sad, with students paying tribute to Shevon.