JAM | May 16, 2024

Schools must review entry and search policy, says Holness

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

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Prime Minister Andrew Holness addressing the House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 9, 2024. (Photo: JIS)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says schools will now have to review their entry and search policies amid a surge in violence in educational institutions.

“We have discussed with the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Education that all schools must review their entry policies. They must review their search policy, and in particular, they must now seek to put in place measures to detect and seize weapons in schools, particularly knives and other implements that can be used to cause damage,” Holness said.

He said this directive will go out to the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of National Security shortly.

“Schools must increase the level of searches to detect these weapons that are being brought into the school compounds,” the Prime Minister added.

Just this week, 20-year-old Akeila White, a student of Catholic College of Mandeville was stabbed by a 17-year-old student following an altercation on school grounds.

Reports are that around 11:50 am, an argument developed between White and another student in a classroom at the institution.

The 17-year-old boy reportedly left the classroom and returned with a knife, which he used to inflict wounds to the 20-year-old’s upper body and shoulder.

Another male student reportedly received injuries to his back during the altercation.

White and the injured student were reportedly rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead, while the other student was treated.

The prime minister says he has directed the ministries of education and national security to jointly access the security risks of schools so as to better direct resources where needed. He says steps have already been taken to increase the number of case managers available for school interventions.

There are also plans to increase the number of school resource officers for at-risk schools.


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