Primary heads condemn bomb threats against schools

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Carlene Hayes, President of the National Primary Schools Principals’ Association (NAPSPA) – Photo courtesy Carlene Hayes Facebook page

THE National Primary School Principals Association (NAPSPA) has issued a statement condemning a recent spate of bomb threats against primary schools in the South Eastern Education District which were e-mailed on March 5 and 6.

In a statement sent on March 11, NAPSPA echoed Martin Lum Kin, president of the TT Unified Teachers’ Association (TTUTA), who denounced the act, calling it cowardly and malicious.

The association said the safety and well-being of primary school students and staff are important to the organisation, and any threat, regardless of its credibility, is intolerable and must be addressed with the utmost seriousness.

NAPSPA said the disruption caused by these threats coincides with a critical period in the academic calendar, with students gearing up for the Secondary Entrance Assessment and end-of-term assessments. The release said normal educational process has been severely hindered, affecting not only academic progress but also children’s emotional and psychological welfare.

The association criticised the Ministry of Education for what it called a delay in decision-making by officials over school dismissals, saying lengthy waits left students, teachers and principals exposed to humid weather, without access to basic facilities, in an already tense situation.

It said there are many deficiencies in the ministry’s crisis response, noting the prolonged period required for bomb sweeps across the 49 primary schools in the district and said there is a need to revise protocols.

The statement also condemned the Ministry of Education’s requests to principals and staff for them to return to schools to search for suspicious objects, saying this exposed educators to unnecessary risks.

The release ended by calling for a thorough investigation by law-enforcement agencies to identify and swiftly arrest those responsible, saying it would send a clear message that such acts would not be tolerated.

NAPSPA also commended principals’ efforts in managing the crisis and urged collaboration with law enforcement, local authorities and community partners to enhance schools’ security.