In view of recent incidents violating peace of mind on school campuses, Education Secretary Eliezer Ramos stressed on Monday that schools are safe places and the agency remains alert to deal with any situation.
The most recent of these occurred on Monday, when special schools were required to be evacuated. University Garden and Dr. John Joseph Osuna, both in San Juan, before the alleged threat of a shooting. The education secretary said that classes would resume in both the schools on Tuesday “due diligence”Including additional security and counseling and psychology equipment.
“For us, schools are safe places, but no message should be taken lightly”The official told this medium in an interview.
“In this case (in the two evicted schools), the authorities have already intervened with the young people. They are in the process of interviewing, so they are going to tell us about the course of action for the next few days”, he said , noting that he also spoke to the parents of the students involved.
Separately, Cesar Omar Gonzalez Cordero, Commissioner of Security for the Department of Education, new day what A teacher at University Gardens School alerted the principals of both schools about a screenshot, which he had access to, of two students allegedly exchanging messages via the WhatsApp platform about the planned shooting.
The secretary specified that it was a student of the University Garden and the other of Dr. Juan José Osuna. In turn, he was referring to a third student from University Gardens, who is in the United States.
They express themselves by asking the second student about the third student, who hasn’t seen him in a long time, and he replies that he left for the United States and that he plans to shoot up two schools. was planned”informed González Cordero about the contents of the exchange.
Hours after schools were evacuated due to threats, police confirmed the veracity of the messages.
“Police Cyber Crime Division verified the authenticity of the alleged threat messages. Police have been conducting various interviews throughout the day and continue to interview people linked to those messages”, said Axel Valencia, press officer of the uniformed forces.
The Secretary of Education indicated that, after receiving the alleged threat, a protocol was activated that included alerting the police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, for its abbreviation in English).
“We know that federal authorities cooperated more than anything to be able to identify and interview the minor who is living in the United States. I still don’t know if they’re going to take jurisdiction or not.” Not there.”Ramos explained.
The secretary anticipated that, once the investigation is concluded, the students could face disciplinary sanctions, including expulsion from school and “criminal proceedings, including under the juvenile law.”
“I know the Justice Department is already consulting with the Attorney General’s Office for Minors,” Ramos said. “We have three young people who are not well in some way. They are showing it through a message”He added.
Social worker and president of the College of Social Work Professionals of Puerto Rico, Larry Emil Alicia, agreed with Ramos when he stressed that “identifying the needs of these youth, activating them in support services, and strengthening these families Is necessary. “
He highlighted, for example, that, in Head Starts, families of each boy or girl are subjected to psychosocial assessments to ensure all their needs are met and relevant referrals are made.
“Education does not have enough social workers or psychologists or counselors who can conduct psychosocial assessment in schools. The service delivery system in the education department has to be completely changed as support resources are minimal”Alicia commutes the sentence.
Threats against schools at this level are rare on the island, the education secretary acknowledged.
Last week, Luis Felipe Rodríguez García Middle School in Camuy was evicted following the appearance of a parent who had previously threatened school staff members.
Outside the public system, in March 2019, a Wesleyan Academy student was investigated by federal authorities after he posted a video of himself carrying a weapon with threatening gestures on social networks. The student was not charged, but was expelled from the private school.
“In the last four to five years, these incidents have happened. Of course, they’ve been in pretty close times”Ramos said.
“Of course, it raises our flag that we’ve seen this type of threat in Puerto Rico. We raise the flag for the emotional state of our students. It raises our flag so that we can act and react. So far, I emphasize Granted, schools are one of the safest places for our children and youth. Our parents, still aware of that level of trust, I know it’s there,” the secretary said. They fear an increase in such events against security in schools.
He stressed that security at schools has been tightened and the number of security cameras has been increased. He also said that disciplinary incidents and escalations have been reduced.