The President of the National Principals’ Association (NPA), Valerie St. Helene-Henry, has called on the Ministry of Education to spend more money on school security.
She spoke on Monday after masked bandits targetted the Castries Comprehensive Secondary (CCSS) and the Sir Ira Simmons Secondary schools last week, escaping with computers and other devices.
“There’s need for some serious attention to be given to school security and safety. It’s not business as usual. The Ministry of Education needs to be ready to increase funding as it relates to school security,” the NPA President told St Lucia Times.
St. Helene-Henry has spoken out before on the need to beef up school security, indicating the need for an upgrade in the level of security officials at learning institutions.
She pointed out that they are unarmed and have no defence or protection.
“All they are there to do is to watch and after an incident once they have not been injured they call the police,” the NPA official told St Lucia Times.
“We need to look at preventative measures so that people who come in are caught on the compound or as quickly as possible,” St. Helene-Henry observed.
And although noting that CCTV cameras were present at the CCSS and Sir Ira Simmons School when the bandits struck last week, she noted that the intruders were skillful.
“They come to get rid of the cameras,” St. Helene-Henry observed.
She also spoke of the need to beef up school infrastructure to make access to certain parts of a learning institution difficult.
The NPA President specifically mentioned Learning Resource Centres, which house large screen televisions, computers, and other electronic devices.
She felt such areas should not have the doors, windows, and locks that traditional classrooms have but ones that make it difficult for criminals to break in.
“I think they are too relaxed and they need to heighten focus on school security and it needs to be done swiftly,” the NPA President said regarding the authorities.
“Look we are going into vacation and maybe be some criminals may be planning to target specific schools during the vacation. The Ministry of Education needs to put a strategic plan in place,” she declared.