The President of the National Principals Association (NPA) has expressed concern about reactive school security measures and wants the authorities to urgently make learning institutions secure.
The President of the Saint Lucia Teachers Union (SLTU), Don Howell, recently voiced similar concerns.
On Tuesday, NPA President Valerie St Helene-Henry told St Lucia Times that security has constantly been on the agenda of meetings of principals, teachers, and education ministry officials.
“What has been addressed are just the basics in terms of the calibre of – we call them watchmen, not even security, at schools,” the NPA official observed.
She said they get some training but asserted there’s a need to upgrade the calibre of individuals on duty at some schools.
“In terms of security, when you hear the word to me, it’s at a higher level,” St Helene-Henry noted.
“The watchmen we have at the schools, some of them lack training. Some of them need to be replaced – it’s a grave concern,” the NPA President told St Lucia Times.
“We don’t have too much confidence in the present persons we have at our schools. There are lots of horrific stories to tell as they relate to school security,” St Helene-Henry declared.
The NPA official also expressed concern over easy access to schoolyards due to inadequate fencing.
She explained that several schools have unstable or no fencing at all while people traverse some schoolyards to get to their homes.
As a result, St Helene-Henry called for an urgent needs assessment, adding that some more recent schools enjoy a security advantage over others that have been in existence for some time.
She lamented that over the years, when there’s been a security issue, there are meetings with the police, and the authorities put measures in place, including patrols.
“After a while, everything dies down and we are back to the same situation,” the NPA President told St Lucia Times.