Police to patrol Lodge school
-teachers recall finding knives and ice picks
Wednesday, March 17th 2004
Police are to patrol Lodge Community High School to monitor students' behaviour in the wake of an attack on a teacher.
But the teachers are not satisfied and want a constant police presence from 9 am to 3 pm and are still boycotting classes. Last week Brian Balgobin suffered a fractured skull after a pupil hit him in the head with a piece of wood. The child has now gone into hiding. Teachers say they have confiscated knives and ice picks brought in by students.
Assistant Chief Education Officer (department of Georgetown) Joseph Gilgeous said the ministry is working with teachers to resolve the present situation, adding that the focus is to resume work in the classroom.
But he stated that police could not be placed at schools on a daily basis and the ministry is not looking at implementing such a programme.
Following talks with Education Minister, Dr Henry Jeffrey an agreement was reached to strengthen security at the school, Gilgeous said. He pointed out that police ranks would visit the school regularly to monitor students' behaviour.
The teachers also pointed out that the bushes surrounding the school have become a haven for delinquents and are calling on the ministry to clear them up.
Gilgeous told Stabroek News yesterday that the bushes are being cleared.
The 16-year-old boy was reportedly a member of a delinquent gang in the school behind several attacks on teachers and students.
A senior teacher disclosed that his mother visited the school and claimed to have lost track of her son's whereabouts after the incident.
According to the teacher, the mother showed little concern over the incident.
Easter Term Examinations are set to commence on March 22 but are likely to be affected by the protest action.
An English teacher told this newspaper the ministry needs to recognise social work as integral part of the school system and start counselling sessions with students. A network with social workers seems the only possible solution to the problem, the woman said.
A male teacher at the school said the ministry needs to face the issue of classroom safety and not look the other way. According to him the protest action will only intensify if nothing is done.
A group of female students told Stabroek News they are suffering as a consequence of their colleague's actions. They said that people are casting blame on the entire student body because of a few delinquents. The group said while society should show concern they must also consider students who are there to take advantage of free education.