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Forde calls for schoolbag search squads

LISA KING, [email protected]

Forde calls for schoolbag search squads

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School principals and staff have been called on to enforce the power to search.

This call came from Cynthia Forde, Member of Parliament for St Thomas and former Minister of Education.

Forde said that unless schools had a delegation of senior staff searching the children’s bags and making sure they did not bring in any weapons and contraband, the situation was going to worsen.

She was speaking to the media yesterday against the backdrop of an incident last week in which three Frederick Smith Secondary School students allegedly attacked and injured a public service vehicle (PSV) conductor with a cutlass.

Forde, who participated in a presentation at Sharon Primary School yesterday, said: “It would be an interesting thing if the Ministry of Education would start to look seriously at pursuing the power to search aspect of the legislation, because a lot of children would have been taking to school those weapons; if this is now a call that it is happening on a regular basis.”

With regard to the move by some PSV operators to ban schoolchildren from the vehicles, Forde said this was too sudden and there was room for dialogue from all the stakeholders, including the Ministry of Education, PSV operators, the Transport Authority and the Ministry of Transport and Works.

“There may have been more but I don’t think that, that is the way you deal with it. I believe that proper investigation needs to take place and you cannot just come overnight and make that kind of radical expression without giving it proper investigation and thought,” she said.

She encouraged parents to dig into their children’s bag before they leave home and when they come back from school. She advised drivers that when there was disorderly behaviour on their vehicles they should go to the police station. (LK)