Oral Reid: Search them!

MINISTER of Education, Ronald Jones, may not be up for metal detectors in schools, but the Chairman of Crime Stoppers Barbados, Oral Reid believes the move is necessary to stop weapons from getting on to school premises.

The Chairman, who has a long and distinguished career in law enforcement, is concerned about the level of violence in the island’s schools, and particularly the use of weapons by some students to carry out attacks.

At a Crime Stoppers Barbados press conference, held at the Southern Palms Hotel, St Lawrence, Christ Church, yesterday, Reid said metal detection would establish the provision of an environment of safety and security, whether at schools or other public places.

“We are not advocating the use of devices which are not aesthetically pleasing at the entrance of schools, but I am sure that many of us are familiar with walking into stores.

“If you come into the library at the Cave Hill Campus, there is a detector that reminds you when you are leaving with a book that has not been processed, and that has been there from the 1990s, so this is nothing new. These devices are at entrances on Broad Street, on Swan Street, at institutions,” Reid said.

When asked last month whether he was of the view that the time has come for metal detectors to be installed in schools, in light of a recent cutlass attack on two Ellerslie Secondary students, Minister Jones’ response was “no”.

The Minister said he was strongly against punishing the majority for the actions of the minority, by introducing security measures that would inconvenience entire school populations.

However Reid, who declared that he is passionate about the issue, said he understands that the Minister may have taken this position due to the cost involved with installing the detectors.

“But I cannot think in terms of cost, I have to think in terms of safety and security…,” Reid said.

“All we are saying is that if you have an environment where you care about the people who occupy the space, whether those persons are members of staff, or if those persons are students, every effort ought to be made to ensure that you have an adequate number of security persons at your entrance and that whatever technology can be engaged for the safety of those persons, that we engage it,” he added. (AH)

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