Third Vice President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Felicia Dujon, believes the Government should take full responsibility for the failed simulation exercise which occurred at Springer Memorial School on Wednesday.
In what was supposed to be an exercise teaching the students how to react to gang intrusion, the two masked men who went around the all-girls school banging on windows wielding a machete and a “mock gun” reportedly left students distressed and traumatised.
During a Ministry of Education media conference held almost concurrently, deputy chief education officer Joy Adamson said there were no guns present, although several children said one man was carrying a “mock gun” during the exercise.
“This is another example of the Government not upholding the rights of parents and engaging in actions that remove the parents from acting in their best interest of their child,” Dujon said.
“Those in power thought it was in the best interest of the child to endure such a traumatic experience. We are getting Government officials and representatives telling us that it is better to put our children under traumatic experiences than to do what we are required to do. That is to ensure there are clear policies and securities in schools and to ensure that there are proactive school safety strategies that could work in the benefit of teachers, children, auxiliary staff and anyone else on school premises.”
The human and gender rights activist continued: “We ought to remember that for many of those children, school is the only safe ground for them, we do not know what homes they are coming from and what their communities look like. The school premises are the only safe haven for those children and for the Ministry of Education to again respond as if those children will just get some counselling and they should be okay, is a detriment to the mental health of those children.”
Dujon also reminded it was a year ago that the Inter-American Development Bank survey was conducted without parental consent and said all involved in this exercise should be reprimanded.
Her comments came on the back of those by party president Dr Ronnie Yearwood yesterday, calling for Minister of Education Kay McConney and Chief Education Officer Dr Ramona Archer-Bradshaw to lose their jobs after the latest scandal. (JC)