The Progressive Liberal Party welcomes the recent announcement by the FNM government that Police Liaison Officers will be assigned to each government school for the coming school year.
The PLP notes this is essentially the reestablishment of the School Based Policing Program, pioneered by the PLP. This initiative will reestablish safe learning environments in our public schools, enabling our students to develop their God given gifts and allow our educators to perform their duties without intimidation and fear for their personal safety.
The PLP roundly condemns the FNM for its initial cancellation of this important program—more evidence of a government that has put politics first, not Bahamians.
The consequences of the government’s decision to cancel the School Based Policing Program in 2007 were dire.
Media reports indicate that since 2007, the Ministry of Education and the Police have had to respond to major student riots, attempted murders and actual murders which brought school operations to a complete halt. As a matter of fact, a student was killed in a classroom at C. C. Sweeting High School following the cancellation of School Based Policing. Violence which started inside school was taken outside and resulted in the murder of school students at the Town Centre Mall, another near the Mall at Marathon and a third on Bay Street.
In June of this year alone, there were at least two major fights involving at least seventeen (17) high school students. At least five (5) students had to be taken to the Hospital suffering from serious stab wounds.
For years, the FNM has seemed paralyzed by rising violence in schools – but they have finally taken a positive step by returning to a PLP policy.
The PLP believes Bahamians deserve schools in which safety is not a concern, so that teachers can teach and students can learn, without fear and without harassment. Re-implementing the School Based Policing Initiative is a step in the right direction. The FNM Government was four years late to act in the public interest, but the PLP welcomes this initiative for the sake for our teachers and students.