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POLICE OFFICERS BACK IN SCHOOLS: Munroe announces move after last week’s AF Adderley stabbing

NATIONAL Security Minister Wayne Munroe. (File photo)

NATIONAL Security Minister Wayne Munroe. (File photo)

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

NATIONAL Security Minister Wayne Munroe confirmed that police officers have returned to public schools, nearly a week after concerns were reignited about school safety following last week’s stabbing at AF Adderley Junior High.

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According to officials, several officers were assigned to nine different public schools in New Providence on Monday in view of the incident.

Among them are AF Adderley Junior High, CH Reeves Junior High, Government High School, RM Bailey Senior High, CC Sweeting Senior High, CV Bethel Senior High School and Doris Johnson Senior High.

 Mr Munroe said two other schools are expected to have police presence very soon. He added the initiative is “intelligence driven.”

 This comes after a student was stabbed at AF Adderley last week in what officials believe may have been a gang related attack. A 13-year-old boy has since been charged in connection with the incident.

 Yesterday, Education Minister Glenys Hanna Martin described the return of officers to schools as a necessary effort to strengthen campus safety and help stem the rise of violence among teens.

 She said her ministry is committed to ensure that Bahamian children remain safe and also revealed plans to incorporate anger management classes in the new curriculum for next year.

 “We have to appreciate that these young people have been out of the loop for two years,” Mrs Hanna Martin said before going to a Cabinet meeting. “Many have not been in school at all. Some have been on the streets; some have been cooped up for extended periods of time so we’re not dealing with a normal environment for these people.

 “I mean they’re coming back now to a socialised environment, but they have been in an abnormal situation for two years. This has had a negative impact and we are going to steadily work it through until we bring about some level of regularity in their lives and the lives of the Bahamian people.”

 The introduction of police on school campuses is not a new move.

 In 2003, the Progressive Liberal Party formed the School Policing Unit that involved strategically placing police officers in the public schools. In 2007, under the new FNM government, the programme was stopped and cancelled.

 However, it was eventually replaced with a community policing approach that stationed officers outside schools during the peak hours of 7am to 9am and 3pm to 5pm.

 The Christie administration later reinstated the programme when it assumed office in 2012.

 Yesterday Mr Munroe said it is his hope that the initiative will help others adopt better conflict management skills.

 “We want the citizenry to have an attitude that if something happens, you don’t take the law into your own hands, but you give it to the police so how better to inculcate that into persons and it starts with students and the police are on campus if you have an issue, you can access them,” he said.

 Concerns about increased violence among children comes as the country grapples with a rise of homicides and violent crime.

 According to this newspaper’s records, 35 murders have been recorded so far for the first three months of this year.

 On Sunday, Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis called an urgent conclave with key stakeholders to address the nation’s escalating crime rate. He said more details about the government’s plan will be released soon.

 However, the Free National Movement has questioned the Davis administration’s plan to arrest crime.

 FNM leader Michael Pintard said he is of the view that the government should have already been prepared to present Bahamians with immediate, short term and long-term goals for crime fighting.

 Mr Munroe pushed back at Mr Pintard’s statements yesterday and questioned the opposition’s sincerity in wanting to be bipartisan in discussions of national concern.

 “As I mentioned in the House, I am sceptical of the opposition’s sincerity in wanting to be bipartisan and they’re disingenuous in a lot of what they do so you come to a meeting with proposals, and you have not even been briefed as to what the problem is. That is like a doctor treating you without examining you,” the minister told reporters yesterday.

 “And so, the prime minister may be of a different view, but I see their efforts as cynical and disingenuous. We had a briefing where the police ​were quite blunt with us about what was happening, the steps that could be taken.

 “Deputy Commissioner (Clayton) Fernander indicated that he’s putting together the same team that he led to reduce murders to under 100 before he was sidelined if you remember – and he is putting together a team and they’re targeting the gangs and people on bail and they’re targeting the drug shops and it’s quite clear at the meeting that they introduce saturation patrols into the hotspots.”

Comments

John 6 months ago

What is more urgently needed is schools other than police officers is a male presence. This has been recommended for years. Put retiring or retired police officers in schools not on security details but to interact with students. They can teach classes like , Health and Safety, Public Safety , Drivers Education ( if only the the theory) and other classes where they can get to know the students and identify ones who may become problematic and need further intervention. And they will give confidence to the female teachers and also back up police officers if necessary. Social scientists will tell you that a byproduct of a female dominated society or environment (school campus) is a rebellious male. Not necessarily because he wants to be a problem but it’s because of his nature that he will challenge authority. And the more he can get away with, the more he will challenge. Young girls do the same thing but in a more subtle way. And there will always be conflicts. The idea is to have resolutions that are not fatal or involve injuries. The children been locked down for two years and their wild sides are feeling freedom. But they must know laws still exist and there are consequences for bad or violent behavior.

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John 6 months ago

When there were certain head teachers at C R Walker and RM Bailey high schools and some others, the students from these schools were not known to be getting into problems or engaging in antisocial behavior. There was strict enforcement of school rules and the academic performance of these schools were above average. Then C C Sweeting use to be known as the ‘black sheep’ of public schools. Not only were their grades below average, but the schools athletic performance was also mostly lackluster. Non winning mostly and rowdy. And then some new teachers went to that school and revived its sports program. CC win several championships and were in the rankings for several others. Not only did this motivate students to become more involved in athletics but the school’s academic performance 🎭 ncreased and student’s involvement in antisocial behavior faded.

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Emilio26 6 months ago

I remember when former education minister Jeff Lloyd suggested establishing an all boys boys and all girls boarding school.

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sheeprunner12 6 months ago

We need a school for problem youth. That was the purpose of STAR academy on Wulff Road. The PLP needs to finish that, so that the schools can get back to normal

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carltonr61 6 months ago

Lack of home parenting is the problem. House to house wLk abouts just to say hello will cut out a lit of foolishness.

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JokeyJack 6 months ago

A lot of good ideas by those commenting here, but let me just say that a word of approval should also be given. We NEED police in the school. I just hope that this word "several" doesn't mean 7. He should assign at least 4 police officers to EACH of these schools, and work toward having at least 3 in ALL schools. 8-Mile Rock High School in Grand Bahama needs 20 police assigned there right now. Yes, 20. Anyone who disagrees with this is ill-informed or a part of the problem. Please don't go by the TINY bit of info you get in the newspaper.

The problems have gotten WAY out of hand, and just like a diabetic foot - now needs to be CUT OFF or else the patient (The Bahamas) is going to die.

There should be 500 police officers assigned to schools around the country from TODAY until the end of school and end of national examination period. Then this program can be reviewed and revised to be ready for September.

Other than what I have suggested above, we are just saying that we don't really care about our children and admitting that, in fact, they are just the result of broken condoms.

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