Samuda to discuss school security with JTA

Samuda to discuss school security with JTA

Thursday, February 13, 2020

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KARL Samuda, the minister responsible for education, says he will be meeting with the president of the Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) this week to discuss the urgent issues affecting security and safety in public schools.

“We will explain to him what our strategies are. We have discussed it and we know exactly what has to be done; it's something that we have always struggled with over the years,” Samuda told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

The JTA on Monday issued a 30-day ultimatum to the Government to respond to its call to address security and disciplinary issues affecting the island's schools.

The association wants increased security for students and staff going to and from school, and for trained security personnel to be engaged by the institutions.

“They (government) 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 President Owen Speid told a press conference convened Monday by the organisation at its in downtown Kingston headquarters.

Speid said industrial action is a last resort, if the Government did not respond to its call, as there are other actions which the JTA could take.

“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 said.

The JTA president said urgent attention should be given to the security issues affecting schools, the student body and staff, such as student on student violence, and violence by students and parents against staff.

He said dispute resolution mechanisms needed to be enhanced and that there is also a need for more time-out facilities.

“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 said.

He said teachers and students are in fear, as he pointed to a spate of violent incidents and robberies at schools.

– Alphea Saunders

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