Rights of the Child Commission will be requesting review of the protocol for police intervention at schools

Dear Editor,
The tragic circumstances related to the passing of Kelvin Fraser, fifteen–year-old child, are being carefully followed by the Rights of the Child Commission.

In addition to great sorrow at his death, of particular concern to the RCC is the conduct of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in a school environment. Children and their parents have a right to reasonably expect that a school environment would be safe and offer fair protection. Even in instances, however, where for various reasons this is not achieved, caution ought to be applied by lawful authorities in restoration of order.

While we consider it imprudent to comment on what should be the result of what we assume are ongoing investigations and criminal proceedings instituted, the RCC shall be requesting the Honourable Ministers of Home Affairs and Education, and the Commissioner of Police to oversee a review of the approved protocol for intervention in matters at schools.

Should none exist, the RCC expects that one would be rapidly put in place, and training and sensitization be immediately undertaken of the GPF officers and ranks. In particular, the presence, type and use of weapons must be clarified.

The RCC is of the view that there must never be a recurrence of incidents such as this and the likelihood would be minimized if officers and ranks of the GPF are mandated to follow protocol, and, in a school setting, conduct themselves in a manner that is respectful of children’s rights.

Yours faithfully,
Rosemary Benjamin–Noble
Deputy Chairperson
Rights of the Child Commission

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