Education director: School security was not breached

Education director: School security was not breached

Frustrated parents lined school’s entrance following shootout

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Acting Director of Education Marcellus Taylor yesterday defended the integrity of security at CH Reeves Junior High School in the wake of a shootout at the campus.

Taylor explained while the incident led to the lockdown of the school, there was no security breach.

He was responding to questions from Eyewitness News about whether the incident will prompt additional security measures.

“It is not an issue of increased security,” Taylor said when asked whether the matter will prompt any additional security measures.

“This person was being pursued by police on the streets of NP it just so happens that the criminals saw the gate open at a time when a parent was being let out and then they came in. It wasn’t a security breach in anyway.”

“We have both schools on lockdown just to ensure the safety of all,” he said.

“We have also dispatched counsellors for staff and students so if anyone did witness anything…they can get the counseling.”

Officers responding to reports of two men acting suspiciously in a vehicle on Palm Beach Street shortly after noon, led to a high-speed chase where the suspects opened fire several times.

The chase ended on the campus of CH Reeves after the rental car being driven by the gunmen crashed into a police car, injuring an officer.

Both men were arrested.

Taylor confirmed no students or staff were injured or exposed to the ordeal.

He said students had just returned from their break period when the men got onto the campus as an individual was leaving the school.

He insisted the incident was not a security breach, adding counsellors are now at the junior school to provide support.

Both CH Reeves and RM Bailey Senior High School were on lockdown for several hours.

While there was no incident on the senior high school’s campus, authorities limited access to the school as a precaution, given its close proximity to CH Reeves.

Dozens of parents began gathering outside the schools after reports of the incident made the rounds on social media.

As police officers cleared the scene, some parents became impatient demanding from the entrance gate for their children be released from the school.

An official sought to pacify those gathered, advising the crowd that students were in a general assembly and would be let out in an orderly manner to ensure the safety and protection of students.

The announcement did little to calm parents and guardians, some of whom had been waiting in the Spring heat for over two hours.

“I am a mother of two, who goes here,” a woman, who did not wish to be named told Eyewitness News.

“I came here to collect my children. They don’t want to even let you in the gate.

“It don’t make no sense. If the children already see all that activity happening at least let the children out the gate.

“The parents have to push their way and fight and carry on to get in the school yard. It is not fair.

“They are letting 12 parents in at a time, which don’t make no sense.”

The mother expressed concern about other violent incidents in the school, complaining that fights frequently occur at the school.

Students began to be let out of the school around 2:45 pm.

A mother and daughter wept as they embraced one another outside the school.

Clutching the young girl closely, the woman said: “I love you”.

Fight

Minutes after students began to be dismissed a brawl erupted among several students, who threw rocks at each other.

Some students jump the school’s wall as the students fought.

Police sought to bring order to the chaotic scene.

A male student was eventually detained.

A short while later, three additional police squad cars with nearly a dozen armed officers stood around the entrance of the campus.

Students continued to trickle out of the school by the dozen.

Scores of students were still scattered in the immediate area of the school.