After security breach, Clare Hall Secondary principal reassures parents that wellbeing of students and staff remains a priority

The principal of the Clare Hall Secondary School, Ashworth Azille, has written to parents about the traumatic incident that occurred on the compound on Tuesday, January 3.  He is assuring them that serious steps will be taken to prevent future breaches and counseling services will be provided for those who have been traumatized.

Yesterday afternoon, two masked, armed men breached the school’s perimeter fence and ran about the compound apparently in search of a particular student.

In his January 31 letter, Azille reports that, at about 12:40 p.m., two young men entered the compound with their faces concealed and carrying a cutlass and golf club.

Azille says that a member of the custodial staff observed the duo in the vicinity of the Form Five building, maneuvering as though they were searching for someone.  The staff member was able to alert the principal and faculty to their presence, and, in the process, prompt the intruders to run away.

At the time of the incident there were two security officers on duty; however, the armed men were able to gain entry to the school plant.

A report was made to the Police, who responded in a timely manner, the principal says.  But in spite of the officers’ quick response, they were unable to apprehend the intruders, who had already fled from the scene.

This incident, Azille says, prompted the early dismissal of school at 1:10 p.m. – 20 minutes ahead of the usual time – once it was determined there was no longer a threat to students or faculty.

But while he and the staff are “truly thankful that no one sustained any physical injuries,” he says he is acutely aware that many students and teachers were traumatized by the incident.

Therefore, a team of counselors will be available today, Wednesday, February 1, to speak with those students and teachers “who may wish to unpack” Tuesday’s experience.

In the meantime, Azille is guaranteeing parents that the safety and wellbeing of the students and the faculty remain a high priority.

He notes, too, that Tuesday’s incident has highlighted the need for the school to improve its emergency-response protocol, and this matter will be addressed immediately.

In addition, Ministry of Education officials will have to intensify their current discussions on improved school security and deviant behaviour among the youth, he says.