NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson yesterday urged the government to strengthen the security in the schools and reenergize the school’s policing program.
Wilson’s calls for safer schools comes after two students were stabbed during a fight at C. V. Bethel Senior High School last week.
“School security is something that has been banded about for so long,” she said.
“There was a school policing policy . There was a school policing committee. The Bahamas Union of Teachers, we had one of our officers who sat on that committee. That committee met on a regular basis.
“…They were able to review statistics. They were able to gather intelligence from the police officers. They were able to tell you how many weapons, drugs, gangs, gang activity, whatever violence that happened in the schools.
“They were able to tell us what the guidance councilors along with police officers and management and the union were doing to address these concerns. But now we don’t know what’s happening with the school’s policing program.”
Wilson noted that the security complement at the schools need to be strengthened and the security officers given ongoing training and professional development, including instruction on how to secure the perimeters of the school through rotation of officers.
“There’s so much work to be done,” she added.
“What they don’t understand is, we are teachers, we are professionals, we are educators, we have creative ideas, but if you do not lean on our ideas, when we give you recommendations, you ignore them, we will continue going around in circles and the educational system will continue to plummet and the only person who are losing in this are our children.”
In a call of action to parents of students, Wilson urged them to “step up to the plate for God’s sake”.
“Go to the school, find out what’s happening with your children,” she said.
“When there is a violent act or an injury at the school, don’t just go and pick up your child and take them home, but go and engage the administration, engage the police and the security officers to do out what it is you can do as a parent to assist the teachers and administration and the schools to make sure the schools are safer.
“Monitor your children, know where they are going, who they are hanging out with and monitor their activities.”
“It’s a lot of work to do and I must say the union, we are prepared to work with education, but I’m going to tell you whenever they push against us, we are going to push back.”