Minister Comments on Incident
Given the level of interest and public discourse surrounding this incident, I believe it is important to share the following details from the DES report,
Hon Rolston Anglin
Published 21st January 2010, 4:9pm
Following receipt of a detailed report from the Department of Education Services (DES), Education Minister, Hon. Rolston Anglin has commented on the incident involving a student at the John Gray High School.
"Given the level of interest and public discourse surrounding this incident, I believe it is important to share the following details from the DES report," stated Minister Anglin.
Department of Education Services Report:
"On Tuesday, January 19th in the aftermath of the earthquake earlier that morning, a student on the JGHS Campus had to be physically restrained by staff and police.
This Year 11 student, normally assigned to the Alternative Education Centre, was attending the JGHS Behaviour Unit as part of his individualized education plan.
In the aftermath of the earthquake, he became agitated and broke away from staff, and left the compound without permission. He returned to school shortly thereafter at the persuasion of staff and was determined to wait at the front gate for a family member to collect him from school.
Given the number of parents who chose to collect students after the earthquake and the number of students who were waiting near the front of the school, staff members instructed all students to return to classes until family members actually arrived in order to restore order to the campus and ensure proper supervision of students.
"This particular student refused to leave the gate area even though no family member had arrived, and became aggressive and cursed and physically threatened the school principal. At this point, he was physically restrained by the police, who escorted him back to the Behaviour Unit, where he was counselled by trained staff. He once again broke away from staff and ran back to the front gate, where he threatened the principal and a police officer with a large stick. Two members of staff disarmed the student. At that point, a family member arrived at the gate and was admitted and accompanied the student and counselling staff to a nearby room where he was counselled until he was sufficiently calm to leave the compound with his family member."
"The last thing we want to see is a student being restrained by police, but when the safety of staff, other students and parents is threatened, we have to act," said Minister Anglin.
"However, students and teachers must know that they can safely come to school without fear of intimidation. Without an orderly and secure environment, our students and staff cannot be optimally managed and cared for," he stated.
Chief Officer, Mary Rodrigues, stated that staff members at JGHS are to be commended for the effectiveness with which they vacated the school buildings and ensured student safety and an orderly assembly according to established disaster protocols.
"Although parents and students were understandably anxious about the earthquake, particularly in light of the recent events in Haiti, it is essential that established procedures of the school are followed to ensure that all students can be accounted for and their safety ensured. Student safety is the first responsibility of any government school following any emergency situation," she stated.
JGHS staff have been in touch with the family of the student and will continue to support the transition of the student back into the education system. The Ministry will continue to monitor this situation.