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Education ministry putting more metal detectors in schools

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — As part of its violence-prevention and early intervention efforts, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, through its Safety and Security in Schools Unit, has secured 500 metal detectors for the 2018/19 school year, up from the 130 detectors procured in 2017.

Director of Safety and Security in the Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Coleridge Minto, who made the disclosure at the opening of the 'Chance, Choice, Change' (Triple C) Day Camp on September 19 at the Caymanas Golf and Country Club in St Catherine, said 30 walk-through scanners have also been secured for this school year, up from five in 2017.

The equipment was secured through the ministry's partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which has provided US$3 million in funding under the Safe Schools Programme (SSP).

Minto said funding has also been provided for perimeter fencing, cameras, capacity-building training and support to uniformed groups in schools.

He noted that the introduction of these measures is part of a multifaceted approach by the ministry to create a safe school environment.

“The SSP involves a paradigm shift in the area of student behaviour and discipline. It emphasises prevention and early intervention strategies in dealing with the social, emotional and behavioural difficulties experienced by some students,” ASP Minto explained.

One of the strategies is the behaviour modification camp, 'Chance, Choice and Change', which commenced during the summer. It targets students in school, aged 15 to 18, who have been in conflict with the law and are on probation.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green, lauded the initiative and said the ministry remains committed to finding creative solutions to address the issue of deviant behaviour among youth.

“It is a great model for expanding our reach. Targeting probationers is a very good drive because we have always said we can't just focus on in-school youth; we have to focus on out-of-school youth as well. The truth is, young people interact, and when you treat with probationers and you get them on the right track... they can then become models and mentors for other young people,” he said.

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