A slightly different version of the school policing program that was dismantled by the Ingraham administration will be relaunched in public schools in September, according to Minister of National Security Dr. Bernard Nottage.
The original school policing program was launched by the previous Christie administration and involved stationing officers on public school campuses.
However, the Free National Movement reassigned officers who were stationed in schools shortly after becoming the government in 2007 and police liaison officers were later assigned to junior and senior high schools but were not required to physically remain on campus.
They were instead made available to various school administrators if they were needed.
When the officers were removed, then Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said police officers were not babysitters.
During a press conference at police headquarters yesterday, Nottage said, "We are in the last term now so obviously you would not see it in a full fledged way until the new school year and it may not be identical to what it was last time but it will be appropriate for the needs."
He continued, "The minister of education (Jerome Fitzgerald) and myself are to meet. We are then to meet with the security experts and the police and we will work it out."
Dr. Nottage acknowledged the fact that education officials reported last year that violent incidents in public schools had decreased somewhat.
However, he told The Nassau Guardian that challenges still exist in the public education system as it relates to violence.
"There are a lot of things happening that we are not aware of in our schools," he said. "We ought not to be lulled into a sense of false security and [while] the real violent incidents have been reduced in recent times, it does not obviate the need.
"We have gotten sufficient experience before to know the kind of officer to put there... because that makes a huge difference because in school you have a lot of young people, who have a lot of energy and a lot of desire that we need to be aware of."
Dr. Nottage said the type of police officers assigned to the program would be "mature, experienced and honest".
It is unclear how many officers will be assigned to each school, but the national security minister said those details would be worked out before the program is launched.
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