Cleaner praised as hero for thwarting cutlass-wielding assailants who burst into school

Clare Hall Secondary School
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By Robert A. Emmanuel

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School cleaners are often the unsung heroes in the school environment, as they unassumingly clean up classrooms and premises after the students and staff.

However, one cleaner went beyond the job description on Tuesday and prevented two masked teenage boys from committing violent acts against at least one student at the Clare Hall Secondary School.

Observer media spoke to Director of Education Clare Browne at the school compound yesterday who, for security purposes, decided to withhold the cleaner’s name.

“The Ministry [of Education] is grateful for the swift and wise action that she took yesterday that, God only knows, what could have happened,” he said.

Video, first-hand accounts and excerpts of a letter obtained by Observer media, at the time of the incident, revealed that the two males, who were armed with cutlasses and golf clubs, entered the compound at approximately 12.40pm.

The young men were traversing through the Form 5 building, reportedly searching for the target of their assault.

However, the cleaner not only alerted the other staff members but also chased off the intruders, injuring her foot in the process.

Yesterday, Director Browne assisted the cleaner in receiving medical treatment from the Clare Hall Clinic, and, if necessary, to also receive attention at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre.

Meanwhile, security continues to be a hot topic as it relates to students and teachers on school compounds.

Several incidents have been reported over the last few months where students armed with weapons have attacked other students, with several of them ending up in hospital.

Government, security and education officials have met multiple times since to mull solutions to the troubling issue.

Yesterday, the Education Director Browne repeated his dismay at the ongoing situation.

“It is alarming; things have escalated to a totally different level now and what is more troubling is that it is our young men who appear to be the perpetrators of these incidents,” he said.

Observer media noted a conversation that the Director had with security personnel on scene whereby she articulated the need for more personnel to monitor other accessible areas of the school. The Director communicated that the Ministry was working on a solution; however, the matter of cost was a factor.

Minister of Education Daryll Matthew and other education officials were on scene at CHSS earlier yesterday and held discussions with the staff and students who may have been traumatised and distressed by the situation.

Teachers and students also participated in counselling sessions where their views on the event were expressed in an unfiltered manner.

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