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'Afraid and traumatised'

Teachers give Gov't 30 days to respond to security, disciplinary concerns

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

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THE Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) has issued a 30-day ultimatum demanding that the Government respond to its call to address security and disciplinary issues affecting the nation’s schools.


“There are issues in certain areas, and what we are saying to the Government at this time is that they need to beef up security personnel in terms of trained officers — be it of the Jamaica Constabulary Force or other trained personnel — to be in the vicinity of schools, particularly at dismissal time, or when the children are about to enter the school premises. We are calling on them to provide more security for the schools during those critical moments,” JTA head, Owen Speid, said at a press conference at the association’s offices in downtown Kingston yesterday.


Speid said a strike is a last resort, should the Government fail to respond to its recommendations.


“There are several other things that we can do before we reach that stage. We will look at what is before us, we will caucus, and then we will make a determination as to what we do going forward. We are a professional body and we will be responsible, as we have been over the years, and will take the best decision in the interest of all parties concerned,” he stated.


The JTA president said urgent attention should be given to security issues affecting schools, the student body and staff, noting that some of these issues have been previously articulated.


The association is calling for trained security personnel for schools, enhancement of resolution mechanisms to support the institutions, and for the introduction of more time-out facilities.


Furthermore, the JTA wants a compensation mechanism to be introduced for school personnel who are injured on the job, and for legal sanctions against individuals who commit breaches on school premises.


“We are calling on the Ministry of Education, we are calling on the prime minister who happens to be the minister of education, to give us some sort of response and a plan of action going forward, to deal with these critical matters,” Speid declared.


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