Students lined up to go through the metal detectors.
Education and Culture Minister, Hon. Myron Walwyn has suggested that more metal detectors may be needed at the Elmore Stoutt High School.
The Minister's comments came in the aftermath of a decision to have the lone device which was in use removed. For the time frame the one detector was being utilized there were numerous complaints about long lines and delays experienced by students.
"The metal detector was placed there as a test and certainly it is a good initiative that the school implemented, but like any project that is new you have to look at it and ensure that it works to ensure that it doesn´t interfere with instructional time and students can still get into school and class at the same time," Minister Walwyn stated via ZBVI.
He pointed out that there are over 1,300 students attending the school and if all of them were to go through one metal detector then it certainly would take a long time for all of them to get through, and get into assembly for instruction to start.
"We basically asked for it to stop...as I said it was a test. We have seen the benefits of it and certainly we might have to look perhaps investing in a bit more because we have two entrances to the school, and perhaps whether or not we might need three or four of them. So its something that we have to look at. So it's a good initiative. It has not been shelved entirely, but certainly we have to look at it and make sure that it is a lot more efficient," Minister Walwyn stated.
He pointed out that the students already have difficulties where instructional time is concerned, but while the detector was a good initiative it is one that has to be done with minimal interruptions to the school and instructional time.
Article Published February 6
ESHS Security At Forefront: Dime Bags Found; Metal Detectors Temporarily Removed
To search or not to search every student entering the Elmore Stoutt High School, the Territory's largest populated school, is the burning question facing school officials and the Department of Education.
At a time when there is public outcry about the time it takes for each student to clear the metal detectors recently tested at the school, there is also glaring evidence that more stringent security measures have to be looked at.
According to school officials, some 10 dime bags containing vegetable matter believed to be marijuana were recovered from a group of first form students last Friday, February 1. Then yesterday, February 5, another student was found with a dime bag containing what is suspected to be marijuana.
Both matters are still being investigated, according to a school source.
Following concerns raised by mostly parents, the metal detectors were removed last week, but according to a school source, officials at the school have requested that the department allow the metal detectors to be re-installed and allow random checks to be carried out. However, the detectors have not been re-installed since. A source at the Department of Education pointed out that the department is reviewing the use of the metal detectors.
Last November, officials at the school launched an investigation into an incident where a male student was discovered unconscious in a washroom and may have been under the influence of alcohol. The student had to be taken by ambulance to Peebles Hospital.
Sources stated that the student, a third former, was said to be with a group of students before he passed out in the washroom.
According to reports then, a bag containing spirits was found on the school's compound around that time and there were growing concerns among school officials and parents, some of whom spoke with BVI Platinum News.
A parent pointed out that there needs to be a proper policy that will allow security guards at the school's entrance to conduct mandatory searches of book bags and other belongings that students enter the school with.
Another parent who spoke to BVI Platinum News about the incident had called for a proper investigation that will unearth the source of the spirits, since it is illegal to sell to minors.
Currently, Top Priority provides security at the school's Road Town premises. The firm's Chief Executive Officer, Lesmore Smith has repeatedly appealed for the collective efforts of teachers, security personnel and parents to provide a safe and conducive school environment.