SDA School broken into and robbed, while Potter decries breach of OCS and says Gov’t still failing to secure compounds

Break-ins at schools, both public and private, continue across the country, with thieves making off with electronic items and vandalizing the school plants.  Several such offences occurred over the Labour Day weekend.

Reports are that the vice principal of the St. John’s Seventh Day Adventist School, located at Mary E. Pigott Street, Ottos, contacted the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and reported a break-in sometime between 7:30 p.m. on April 30 and 10:45 a.m. on May 1.

It is believed that the perpetrators used a hard implement to pry open the doors and enter a number of classrooms, which were then ransacked, and several electronic items – including a Raspberry Pi tablet, a Dell laptop, and a VGA-HDMI adaptor – were stolen.

The scene has been processed, and the Police allegedly have found items that would assist in finding the perpetrators.

Meanwhile, investigations continue into a break-in at the Ottos Comprehensive School (OCS), which forced classes to be delayed by about two hours on Tuesday, May 2.

Reportedly the vice-principal reported to the Police that he had left the compound sometime after 1 p.m. on May 1 and returned at about 5 p.m. that same day – only to discover that classroom windows had been opened and spray-paint had been used to write indecent language on several areas of the school.

The intruders reportedly entered the biology lab through an eastern window; and, having done so, set on fire a book that was on the teacher’s desk.  The physics laboratory was also ransacked.

However, despite all this damage, the perpetrators did not steal anything.

Gladys Potter, an alumna of the OCS and the United Progressive Party’s caretaker for St. John’s Rural South, took to the airwaves, on Wednesday morning, to decry the vandalism.

In this regard, she chides the Browne Administration for what she sees as yet another “failure” – its failure to provide secure and safe premises, as has been requested, repeatedly, by the Antigua and Barbuda Union of Teachers.

After staging protest action that delayed the start of Term 3, in April, the teachers were assured by the Minister of Education that security improvements were well underway and would continue, and so the educators resumed working.

However, Potter believes the Administration intended mainly to placate the Teachers Union and has not properly honoured its commitment.  This failure, she believes, is what left room for the breach and subsequent offences to take place at the OCS.

The Government reportedly has begun to implement CCTV security systems at a number of public schools to avert or curtail incidents like this.  Some critics have said that, unless the systems are monitored 24/7, their installation does little to solve the problem.