NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said the government has to consider introducing “technological, innovative” changes within the public-school system to increase safety and security in the wake of a fatal stabbing of a T.A. Thompson student last week.
“I have had any number of conversations with the minister of education,” Dames told Eyewitness News Online.
“[We’re] looking at strategies and looking at how we can work on and improve in presence and visibility, but also improving and training teachers; private security personnel that work the area; and looking at technology as a means to enhance safety and security around the schools.
“This is an ongoing [process].”
Asked for specifics on the technology and whether metal detectors were also being considered, Dames said, “The world that we are living in today, you know — and I don’t want to get into the metal detector conversation — but the world that we are living in today it calls for some real innovative, technological changes coupled with well trained personnel to deal with these issues.”
Perry Rolle, 15, was stabbed less than a mile away from the campus by a student of a neighboring school.
He died in hospital.
A 16-year-old student of C.C. Sweeting was arrested and charged in connection with the murder.
“It’s incidents like this that impact all of us and it is unfortunate, but it gives us an opportunity to pause and recognize just how much violence impacts every single one of us and we all have a vested interest to ensure that we do our endeavor best to contribute in some way to reducing the levels, the high levels of violence in the country,” Dames said.
As it relates to school policing, Dames said that the police force continues to support and man the program.
He said, “These schools are a significant priority for us
Highlighting school-based violence in other jurisdictions such as the United States, Dames said there is ongoing debate about increasing security in schools, which include arming teachers.
He made clear he was not suggesting The Bahamas consider the same, “but it points to the seriousness of what it is that we are facing in this new global environment, this new normal”.
Ultimately, the minister said the school campus is a microcosm of society.
“What plays out in those communities oftentimes is what you see playing out in schools
“And so, we have an obligation therefore to — we just don’t isolate and say we alright we going to put all efforts in the community and the schools — we have to look at when we think and talk about community, school is one part of it, and we have to always take it into consideration, but that’s how we have to deal with it.”