THE EDITOR: The Minister of Education, Anthony Garcia, is suggesting that a breach of protocol by the security guard at St Pius Boys’ RC School allowed for the brutal attack on a beloved teacher. This is difficult to believe in the wake of the recent attack on the principal at Tunapuna Hindu School.
What is more likely to be the cause is that because of poor design these schools are near impossible to protect effectively.
When schools are designed in TT, it seems that security of the people who use them is the last consideration. Fences and bars secure the material things inside but the human occupants are barely given a thought.
Nobody is under the illusion that security guards keep people safe in a country where even the police are often deemed unreliable.
First, it is customary abroad for schools to be designed in such a way that visitors to the compound must physically pass through the office in order to access the rest of the school.
Most schools in TT are not designed in this way. They instead offer the entire school compound on a silver platter to anyone who can bluff their way past the guard.
The problem is worse in the large government schools and has been for decades. These schools are simply too large to effectively surveil, resulting in stories of sexual assaults in abandoned classrooms, large mob fights and countless other experiences that do not reach the media.
Guards are kept in small huts, huddled by the gates. Even though the technology has been available for decades they are often cut off from the school with no telephone access to the office or individual classrooms. Access to rooms is controlled by large unweildy bunches of keys when key card technology with centralised control is generations old. CCTV is still non-existent.
These solutions are age-old and basic and even cheaper now than they were in the last century when they were invented and implemented abroad. We need to get serious.
EVRON LEGALL via e-mail