The Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) is calling for armed security at schools to ensure that its members are protected against the criminals that seek to rob or harm them, as well as from unruly parents and students.
General Secretary of the GTU, Coretta McDonald, has said that the welfare of teachers in Guyana needs to be taken seriously by the Education Ministry and this includes the matter of their security in and out of the classrooms.
“Security is a big thing in our schools. Our teachers suffer and our children suffer at times when we are too slow to react. We need to focus on the security of teachers too, not only catering for criminal events, but also for unruly parents and students and even unwanted guests who may want to harm or rob them in and around the school premises,” she stated.
She explained that there have been too many situations lately where teachers and head teachers have been robbed and assaulted and that one of the surest ways to curb this growing trend is to ensure that more suitable individuals are contracted as security personnel at schools. These security guards should also be armed, the GTU General Secretary noted.
According to the GTU General Secretary, the need for armed security at schools is growing and while patrols conducted by the Guyana Police Force are welcomed, this will not ensure the safety of teachers since persons who intend to harm them will simply wait until the Police have left before they act.
McDonald highlighted the fact that many of the schools in Guyana do not have security officers during the day and for those schools which have security services, most of the guards are not suitable or “able-bodied”. This, she added, is as a result of the compensation package being offered to persons who accept such jobs.
The GTU official is urging that the Education Ministry review and revamp the policies that it has in place in relation to contracting guard services for schools.
McDonald further explained that the Ministry must demand that the security services, which it has contracted to serve at its schools, send more professional guards and preferably ones that are armed so that teachers and students will feel and be much safer in and around their environments. (Kristen Macklingam)