There have been almost 850 murders recorded in the Bahamas over the last 10 years. There have been thousands or armed robberies and thousands of assault cases committed where victims received life threatening bodily harm.
Businessmen have been shot and killed, policemen have been shot and killed, teachers have been shot and killed and even members of the church have died on our streets. Students have been shot and killed.
I spoke with several of my teenage cousins and my god child last year and they told me that fights in their school are an almost daily occurrence. They literally fear for their safety.
Our children are growing up in a violent period in our country and don’t think for one minute that they are oblivious to the high rate of violence in the country. Just like the adult population, they have become hardened and are now accepting violence as normal behavior. In desperate times, we have to take desperate measures.
Some students in our country are completely out of order. They will rob and steal from other students, threaten and maim them. Most students know that teachers and security guards are unarmed and that are not trained to handle violent disputes.
I believe that the police carrying guns in some schools will offer better protection to our students, teachers, general workers and the security guards. Even the students who misbehave might find out that the police presence can be the difference between life and death. Let us not forget the harassment that teachers faced from parents over the years. I contend that armed police officers at school will deter improper action by some parents and guardian, students and teachers.
As a father of two children still in school, I certainly would like them to receive adequate physical protection. Wouldn’t you want your children to be safe in school? This is not the 1980’s when disputes among students were normally settled with a fist fight. The next day all was ok and the best man won; not in today’s world though. Our students today are more violent and this is a direct spill over from what they see in their homes and in their communities. Some of them will gang and beat up another student. Some of them even possess the intent to kill.
Security guards are ill equipped and under trained to deal with violence in most of our schools. This fact has been known for years now and it is unfair to continue ask security guards and teachers to take on this role when they are clearly not trained to handle these types of situations.
The police on the other hand are equipped to handle pressure situations and they will do a much better job than security guards. Their presence alone is a display of authority and sadly we all know that some of our children will only behave when the police are present.
The parental crisis in our country has forced this issue and we cannot wait for parents to improve their dismal parenting skills. This is not a long term fix but it is the right action given what the country is now faced with. I applaud the Minister of Education and the government for having the courage to implement this policy decision.