Kingston, Jamaica (McKoy’s News) – Edith Dalton James High: The Edith Dalton James High School in Kingston has been equipped with a walk-through metal detector, which will provide greater safety and security of students and staff.
The device was provided under the US$4-million Improved Safety and Security in Schools Project, which involves collaboration among the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information; the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); and the National Education Trust (NET).
Launched in October, the initiative is aimed at reducing the crime level among youth between the ages of 10 and 29 years, and will target 981 primary and secondary schools and 50 communities.
On November 15, the USAID handed over 130 handheld metal detector wands and five walk-through scanners to the Education Ministry for schools worst affected by violent and antisocial behaviours.
Education Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, in his remarks at the commissioning of the scanner at Edith Dalton James High on Wednesday (November 29), said the installation of such devices “is really a tool to reinforce the values of discipline, the values of non-violence, the values of respect and love for each other”.
“This is a message that must resonate, a message that every person in Jamaica, every adult also needs to impart; so we want parents to display love and care towards their children,” he noted.
Minister Reid said he is pleased with the results of a recent study done by the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA), which shows that there has been a decrease in violence in Jamaican schools.
“I’m happy to have learnt of the survey recently… where they have seen a positive trend downwards in our schools in terms of violence and conflict,” he said.
Acting Chief of Mission, United States Embassy in Jamaica, Maura Barry Boyle, said the commissioning of the walk-through scanner at Edith Dalton James “is one more step forward in achieving our ultimate aim of reducing violent incidents in our school communities”.
“We are not aiming to turn our schools into security facilities, but we must recognise that when we reduce the number of weapons in our schools, we gradually reduce the number of deadly and violent incidents,” she pointed out.
Edith Dalton James Principal, Orlando Worges, said he is happy that his school was chosen to receive the equipment, coming out of a recent stabbing incident in which a student lost his life.
“I believe every school in Jamaica should have one of these devices,” he said, noting that the students have been cooperating fully.
“It is something that we welcome because of the potential that it has, and not just for our students but anyone wishing to enter our school,” he added.
Some of the objectives of the Improved Safety and Security in Schools Project are to reduce violence, critical incidents and antisocial behaviour among youth; engage parents and communities in behaviour-change processes; and provide co-curricular activities, such as youth clubs and uniformed groups, so as to reduce antisocial behaviour.