“Shocking” and “reprehensible” are the words used by Director of Education Clare Browne to describe Tuesday’s incident at the Clare Hall Secondary School, where two masked and armed young men breached security and made it onto the compound in search of a student.
Reports say that students and teachers alike panicked, as the young men walked through the Fifth Form block armed with a golf club and a cutlass.
The Director, who appeared to be at a loss for words, said he does not wish this type of panic to occur at any other school in Antigua and Barbuda.
Those who operate daily on the school plant – students, teachers, and ancillary staff must feel safe, Browne says, and parents want to know that their children are protected when at school.
Officials from the Ministry of Education, including Browne and Minister Daryll Matthew, visited the school on Wednesday, February 1, to meet with the Principal Ashworth Azille and the faculty and discuss their concerns about school security.
Browne says the Ministry is very saddened by what transpired, and it recognizes the need to review the security services now offered and the quality of personnel provided to the schools.
He says there is also the need to ensure that when students, teachers and other staff show up for lessons and work, respectively, they are able to return home safely at the end of the day.
The education director reports that significant time was spent at the school, speaking with the staff and allowing them to ventilate their feelings and concerns.
Counselors were also deployed at the institution for those who were severely affected by Tuesday’s experience and needed some assistance.
In the meanwhile, Browne has promised that everything will be done to ensure that school security is vastly improved to avoid any reoccurrence of the traumatic event.