NOT ONLY must security arrangements at the St Pius Boys RC Primary School be revamped in light of the barbaric stabbing of a teacher on its premises in front of students, but a nationwide review of security at schools is in order given the disturbing recurrence of these horrific incidents.
What happened at St Pius is a case study in human misery. A woman, brutally assaulted. Children, forever traumatised. An assailant, to a lesser degree, himself a victim, along with his family. And a security guard who must live with the knowledge that they were on duty when this outrageous lapse occurred.
It is one thing to have plans and protocols in place. It is another to implement those plans effectively. And to sustain that implementation over time. This is why it is essential for schools to constantly review and refine arrangements to suit their resources. But the matter is so important it merits an involved approach from the Ministry of Education’s officials who must ensure nationwide standards are being met. All must be responsive to the feedback of the key stakeholders: parents, teachers, children, workers.
It is unacceptable that the assailant was able to sneak through because the guard was otherwise occupied by other visitors. School entryways should be secure areas in order to prevent precisely such a thing. Was this a failure of design? The weapon of choice is also instructive. Metal scanners can easily detect metallic objects that could be used to do harm. Perhaps the time has come for these scanners to be universal.
This stabbing is just the latest act of brazen savagery to take place in a school. In February, the principal of the Tunapuna Hindu Primary School, Jeewan Ramdhanie, was beaten by a parent with a baton.
All of this is happening in the context of a society that seems intent to return to violence, where people are acting ruthlessly and in broad daylight in front of onlookers, without fear or shame. Unabashed malice. The footage of the sickening attack on a man and a woman after a crash on the Churchill-Roosevelt Highway on Monday churns the stomach. As does the murder of a 14-year-old girl alongside two others in a Carenage shootout as the day came to an end. And the murder, beating and robbery of tourists, including a couple walking on Grafton Beach, Tobago, on a Sunday afternoon.
What are we doing to contain this? Violent crime seems to be going out of control and the authorities must be troubled, especially when a school premises is, yet again, pierced by bloodshed.
No matter how hopeful our aspirations as expressed through things like the mid-year review, what matters most is getting to grips with our security and ending the bloodshed.