Parents of robbed students not coming forward, say police

One key factor preventing the arrest and prosecution of criminals who rob students is fear. According to Ivel Calder, deputy superintendent in charge of territorial operations within the Kingston Central Division, most parents of the teen victims do not come forward when summoned.

"The robberies and violence have been happening for some time now, but the reports are more now. Because the children are underage, we have to have parental consent in order to proceed with the case," she revealed to The Gleaner.

Yesterday, administrators and student body heads from eight Kingston high schools gathered at St George's College, Kingston, for a special meeting to examine and come up with safety solutions following a spate of recent robberies and violence against students.

"The parents are asked for permission so we can collect the statement from the child. If the child is able to identify the perpetrators, we would then put something before the court. We have had a number of cases where the children have been able to identify perpetrators, whether by pointing them out directly or when we get descriptions, we would probably realise that it fits some children in schools or in the communities," Calder stated.

"What we find happening is that we are not able to give the definitive number of cases, because some of the cases are not reported, and that is sad."

STUDENTS SET UP STUDENTS

Calder pointed out that the students themselves sometimes make circumstances difficult, because they fail to adhere to certain advice. She also highlighted that many times, some students set up each other.

"We have asked the children from time to time to walk in groups. Sometimes they walk with the phones exposed in the hands or in pockets without concealing them," the deputy superintendent noted.

"What I do know, too, is that students in schools will call community members to describe the routes their schoolmates are taking and what persons have in their possession. They set them up. In addition, there are gangs in the schools, and that contributes to some of the incidents of violence and children being robbed."

Calder added, "Most of the schools in the area have a general let-out time, so we are able to focus a patrol in the area to cover the school routes."

Principal of St George's College, Margaret Campbell, said, "We have to protect our students and break the cycle of violence and criminality that seems to plague us. They need to get to and from school, not worrying about being safe, but thinking about how best they can excel, learn and be educated."


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