By John Denny Observer Reporter
(Basseterre, St. Kitts) ” The Education Ministry in Jamaica is endorsing the position that teachers have a right to search students to ensure that they are not carrying weapons and the Chief Education Officer for the Federation said a similar policy could be implemented here. “We have no policy as such at the present time,” said Patrick Welcome of the Department of Education. “It is becoming an established policy through the rest of the world and in the U.S. We have a policy in place that any time a student is found with a weapon, the police are called in. I feel that in the future it may be necessary to implement a similar policy (of searching students) here.” At a conference last week, Jamaican Education Minister, Andrew Holness announced that the Ministry of Education will be teaming up with the police to keep weapons out of schools. “We are going to be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the police where the police will be assisting you in searching your school and your students. It cannot be, that weapons such as knives, guns and other forms of offensive weapons are allowed to easily enter our school campuses without any form of consequences,” Minister Holness said in his address at the 44th Annual Conference for the Jamaica Teachers’ Association. “Let me use this medium to warn parents and to warn students who are inclined to take weapons to schools that if you are caught you will not be treated as a student,” Minister Holness said, encouraging parents to check their children before sending them off to school. The school, he said, was not a war zone, hence the possession of weapons in schools would not be tolerated. “The teaching and learning environment is under threat. It adds to the frustration of our teachers and makes education a futile endeavour and what we intend to do is take back our schools from criminals and criminals to be,” he said. He also encouraged principals to take charge of their schools as they have the authority to ensure a safe and secure environment.