Former head of the Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT), Pedro Shepherd, is calling on the Ministry of Education to install surveillance cameras at schools across the island, following two break-ins at the Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School in as many days.
Shepherd, a teacher at the Pine, St Michael school, charged that security measures there and at other educational institutions across the island are far from adequate.
“We need to move towards surveillance cameras, even if it is on the periphery. This is something which I have called for many times, because you can at least replay the footage to see who would have entered the compound at a time when they should not have been there. We need to look at securing our schools because we have office equipment and other things that persons would want to get their hands on,” he said.
Shepherd also contended that while the physical presence of a watchman is important, one guard may not be enough for some schools.
He also advocated for the installation of burglar bars and the use of safes.
“I really believe that security needs to be beefed up at schools, especially at nights. My position is that you need to have watchmen on the compound and where there are large schools you may need more than one. Case in point, we have a watchman [but] the admin block has no burglar bars, and once you pry open the door you can have access. Luckily, most schools have safes and those are relatively secure,” said Shepherd, noting that thieves’ attempts to break into the safe at the Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School were unsuccessful.
Classes at the school were called off today after janitors discovered that the administration block had been broken into.
According to reports reaching Barbados TODAY, students and teachers were locked out of classrooms for most of the morning, as the keys for those rooms could not be located. They were found on the playing field hours later.
“We had to wait until the police arrived before we could open any classroom. Officials from the Ministry of Education also came, and then the decision was taken to close the school,” explained Shepherd.
The former BUT boss revealed that it was the second straight day police had to be called to the school to carry out investigations. On Tuesday night, thieves also broke into the classrooms, removing fans and two kettles.
In last night’s break-in, the intruders got into the principal’s office, staff room, and canteen.