KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) – The Ministry of Education handed over 135 new metal detectors to secondary schools across the island, during a ceremony at the ministry’s head office, yesterday.
An audit that was conducted by the ministry revealed that several schools that were issued metal detectors in 2008 were not using them prompting the ministry to procure new metal detectors at a cost of $2.5 million.
Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites called for the metal detectors, which are to be operated by the deans of discipline, to be utilised at all times to ensure safety in the institutions.
The metal detectors will be made available to secondary schools in the ministry’s six regions during the course of this week.
A compilation of revised safety and security manuals was also launched during the ceremony, and will be made available to all schools and on the ministry’s website by the end of this week.
Following a review of existing safety manuals, which commenced in 2014, the documents were revised to provide a more complete representation of the guidelines and standards for a secure and safe environment in Jamaican schools.
The revised documents include: Security and Safety Policy Guidelines: Promoting Culture of Security and Safety in Schools; Policy for the Management of Substance Misuse in the School System; Field Trip Policy Guidelines; and Policy Guidelines for Contact Sport.
Guidelines to Schools for the Management of Hazardous Materials and Equipment and the Disposal of Hazardous Waste, and Guidelines for Developing a Critical Incident Management Plan, were also among the suite of documents provided to schools.
In collaboration with the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ), the ministry has also adopted security standards related to goal posts, playground equipment, and conduct and behaviour in sports.
For the first time, the Safety and Security Guidelines and Policy include the areas of human trafficking, bullying and cyber bullying.
“It is important that we equip our school personnel and indeed send a guideline to all of society, parents and students, security, everyone, as to what the standards of interaction in our schools are,” the minister said.
He called for zero tolerance of weapons, drugs or alcohol in the schools. “Principals, teachers and administrators must be accountable, to ensure that their best efforts are used. Let’s take a firm resolute stand,” he urged.
Thwaites commended the Safety and Security Unit in the ministry and the team that compiled the documents, for the considerable efforts to prepare them.
Published By: The Observer
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