Concerned about the presence of gangs in the school and the growing number of threats being made against them, teachers of the Lodge Secondary School walked out of their classrooms today in protest.
The teachers complained that the situation has become unbearable with students issuing threats against the teachers, triggering confrontations on almost a daily basis.
With regard to the presence of gangs in the school, the teachers said the situation has resulted in fights and brawls between students in and out of the school compound and has even resulted in students from other schools entering the school yard to confront other students.
The teachers said they have had enough and they would like the Ministry of Education and the Guyana Teachers Union to immediately look into their concerns and the situation that they are facing daily at the school.
Following their walkout today, the General Secretary of the Guyana Teachers Union, Coretta McDonald visited the school and said the situation is worrying and cannot be ignored.
“The Police have been called on several occasions and they turn up with their regular vehicles and so by the time the students get the message that the Police are coming, the students and others are gone. We have to safeguard our teachers and we have to safeguard our students. And so one of the things they have to start looking at is the fence behind there (back fence) and look at putting up a guard hut there”, McDonald said.
The union official who is also an Opposition Member of Parliament said there may now be the need for regular Police patrol and increased security at the Lodge Secondary school to address the problem that has been worsening over the past few weeks.
“We need security to check their bags (the students) every day when they come…we might have to reinforce the guards we have here and we might very well need two guards here and persons who are fit and proper because it will not make sense to have somebody there and they can’t manage the place”, the GTU General Secretary said.
Teachers have complained that their calls and complaints to the Ministry of Education have resulted in more questions than answers being provided. The GTU General Secretary said the Education Department needs to take every complaint seriously about the threats being made against teachers and other students by gang members in the school.
“If there is a report that something is happening, it should gain their attention because what we have happening here now, should never happen, if we were taking steps when we were getting the calls”, she said.
Education Ministry officials were at the school today to listen to the concerns of the teachers with a promise of making moves to address the concerns soon.
Many of the teachers said it is a daily challenge to work at the school in face of the threats that are being made against them.
They said even the parents of many of the students have refused to visit the school to understand the challenges being faced by the teachers.