By Kimberley Cummins
Parents of some students at the Welches Primary School are uneasy about their children being at the St Thomas institution without a security guard and have received the support of some staffers in their call for improved safety measures.
Their concerns were exacerbated on Wednesday morning when a naked man was caught masturbating a few feet from the school’s entrance as students made their way into the school.
Barbados TODAY understands that around 8:45 a.m., the offender was seen by a parent who quickly alerted school officials.
Public relations officer of the Barbados Police Service Inspector Rodney Inniss confirmed that officers from the District ‘D’ Police Station responded to the report and went to the scene shortly after, but the man was not found.
However, both parents and staff are fed up with the lack of security on the compound and told Barbados TODAY it was time for a security officer to be assigned to the school. They said that even though a security hut was erected at the front of the school a decade ago it has been unoccupied.
One upset teacher stated that repeated efforts to get a guard at the rural school were brushed aside with the explanation that “our school is not a high-risk school”.
The staff member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the latest incident ought to be a wake-up call for officials.
“He was right here, oh my goodness!” the educator lamented.
“People need to know about this. If this was Charles F Broome, Wilkie, Luther Thorne, a private school, you would hear about it. Look at Belmont – two shootings that ain’t happen during school time and them ready to shut down. What happening to ours? Our children don’t matter?” the staff member queried.
School monitor Kerri-ann Cumberbatch told Barbados TODAY when she saw the man engaged in the indecent act she was concerned about the children.
“Something tell me look ‘round and when I did, I saw a man inside there [opposite the school masturbating]…. So I walk fast with the little girl, walk and went up and all the while I was shouting ‘call the police, call the police’. As I was shouting, I saw some young ones running coming into the school. This evening, I told them to let the parents come into the school so that they could get the children cause that is real serious. I was real frightened for the children who got to walk home this evening because you don’t know if he is still lurking,” she said.
Another staff member, who also did not want to be named, said they believed the offender might be the same person who was caught prowling the school on previous occasions.
“I have heard teachers over on this side, like last year and last term, saying there is a guy that comes with a red hat and he looks through the window,” the concerned staffer said.
A parent said that after what had occurred, they were also worried about the children’s safety.
“My sons does be here at lessons and sometimes when lessons finish it might be a group of them coming home but I would not want them to come home by themselves after today. I will always got to make sure that I am out here to collect them because this is a serious, serious matter. Imagine if the monitors had gone inside, sit down and shut up the gate and didn’t look ‘round. Next thing you hear … somebody’s child disappear and gone from out here. What would you do? They would say the monitors and the teachers at fault but, in all reality, threats lurking so we need something done.”
Efforts to reach principal of the school, Greig Walters were unsuccessful. (KC)