Clare Hall Secondary returning to sense of normalcy after attacks – Principal

Clare Hall Secondary School (Photo by Robert A Emmanuel)
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By Robert A. Emmanuel

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Daily life at the Clare Hall Secondary School (CHSS) has slowly returned to a sense of normalcy following several incidents of violence in the space of a few days.

The school saw its premises breached on January 31 by two machete-wielding adolescents wearing masks—one of whom was recently arrested and charged—in search of an individual, only to be scared off by a cleaner who injured herself in the process.

Counsellors were called to the school to help console students and staff, with some teachers calling on the government to do more to address school security.

Observer media spoke to CHSS Principal, Ashworth Azille, yesterday, three weeks after the incident.

“It was quite a traumatic experience for both students and teachers, and in the immediate aftermath, students—at least those that felt compelled to—had an opportunity to speak with some counsellors to offload and unpack what they experienced.

“There are still those that speak occasionally of the residual effects of the incident and so they are a bit more guarded as they go to their classes so there is a heightened sense of awareness.

“But I think, for the most part, even as work continues to beef up the internal security measures, people are getting back to a relative state of calm and a greater degree of normalcy. The same for the students,” Azille explained.

A few days after the January 31 incident, the secondary school also saw several classrooms broken into, further heightening tensions.

With the backing of their union, teachers took industrial action which prompted several meetings with Ministry of Education officials. The parties were able to reach some agreements, which were not disclosed to the media.

One measure previously discussed was the installation of CCTV cameras at various schools across Antigua, which Azille confirmed were being installed at Clare Hall Secondary.

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