Horrified after seeing their teacher robbed at gunpoint inside the school compound, Jordan Hill Presbyterian School students yesterday broke down in tears, prompting the early closure of the school.
Anxious parents hurriedly picked up their children between 9 am to 11 am, after hearing that the gunman had boldly walked into the Princes Town school’s compound and robbed the teacher of her gold bracelet and her Nissan Frontier pickup, valued at $150,000, shortly after she entered the gate designated for staff members only.
Only one female security guard was on duty and she was unable to stop the intruder, who was also unmasked. The bandit eventually sped off in the stolen pick-up along the Manahambre Road.
When the T&T Guardian visited the scene, parents were busy picking up their children. Parent Karen Revero said she was now reluctant to send her son back to school until better security measures were put in place.
“It is a really bad situation. We expect our children to be safe in school and when we hear of incidents like this it is very scary,” Revero said. Parent Steve Ramrattan said he was working at home when he got the news of the robbery.
“I came immediately to pick up the children. We cannot take chances,” Ramrattan said.
Another parent, Selina Ramdhan, said it was unfortunate that only one security officer was on the compound at the time. Calling for security to be improved, Ramdhan said she was yet to make a decision about whether her child will come to school today.
Shastri Seelochan, who came to pick up his friend’s children, said students were scared after hearing someone wanted to shoot their teacher.
“There is a lot of confusion right now. We hearing all kinds of things in school and we want to know what is happening,” Seelochan added.
Contacted yesterday, T&T Unified Teachers Association president Lynsley Doodhai called on the Ministry of Education to review the complement of security on the compound, saying teachers and pupils must be protected.
“We are very concerned about this. It is alarming,” Doodhai added.
He said there were two points of entry at the school—a pedestrian walkway and a driveway—and it was impossible for one guard to monitor both entrances.
“TTUTA is calling on the ministry to hire additional guards and to ensure that this does not happen again because it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education to ensure staff and students are safe,” Doodhai said.
He added that teachers and students will receive counselling from the Student Support Services and the Employee Assistance Programme.
Minister of Education Anthony Garcia is out of the country at the moment, but contacted via message yesterday, Junior Minister Dr Lovell Francis, said: “It is disconcerting that this sort of thing has happened in a school. The ministry will be doing it’s own investigation, but will of course be liaising with the police. In the end, the safety of students and teachers is our primary responsibility and we will do what is necessary to ensure that.”
Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Radhica Sookraj)