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Security Measures Beefed Up at Presentation College Chaguanas Amidst Threats

There have been nine bomb scares at Presentation College Chaguanas (PCC) since the school term began on September 4. The most recent was Wednesday, October 11.

The threats have been coming in via email and the school administration has been working with the TT Police Service (TTPS) and the PCC school security to ensure the safety of the school population.

Sharon Mangroo, the Chief Executive Officer of the Catholic Education Board of Management (CEBM) said the bomb threats have caused disruption in two ways.

The first, “children actually have to leave school because the standard practice is if the children are in school, then they have to leave the school to go to the muster point and they stay there until the principal gives the all clear to go back in”.

Mangroo also said some parents are nervous about safety and decide not to send their children to school. Wednesday recorded the lowest student attendance – just over 200 students. There are over 700 PCC students registered.

PCC has its own security guards who conduct sweeps of the school compound in the day and night and security was beefed up.

Mangroo said the Cyber Crime Unit and Terrorist Interdiction Unit of the TTPS are working to identify the source of the threat. She added, “There is an international treaty that allows them access to information and so they said it is a matter of time, but they are working on it.”

School guidance officers have been communicating with students to allay their fears. Mangroo said, “by and large the students are not very fearful but there are some who have been traumatised a bit”.

On Wednesday afternoon, a team from the TTPS comprising senior officers visited PCC and met with the staff and representatives of the parent’s support group.

They received an explanation that it is a criminal offence to issue any correspondence which causes concern for safety. The threats have been sent to the PCC’s email addresses.

The TTPS offered help from the Victim and Witness Support Unit personnel to work alongside the counsellors from the Ministry of Education’s Student Support Services Division “to address any concerns, any trauma that staff, students or parents might have”. An assurance was given that the TTPS took every threat to the school seriously.

The CEBM has been supporting the Acting Principal. “I am very satisfied with the way it is being handled. The Acting Principal has been in touch with police at every turn,” Mangroo stated.

She disclosed that PCC has its own web domain name and email addresses. The school administration was advised by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education to stop using it. Mangroo said they will be suspending all email accounts and switching to the Ministry of Education domain.